Nigerian Politician Pleads Guilty to Stealing $250 Million

Posted February 27th, 2012 at 1:55 pm (UTC-5)
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A former Nigerian state governor has pleaded guilty in London to embezzling an estimated $250 million in public funds.

James Ibori, who was governor of Delta state in oil-rich southern Nigeria, pleaded guilty on Monday to 10 counts of money laundering, fraud, and other offenses.

Ibori was extradited to Britain last April after fleeing to Dubai to escape prosecution in Nigeria, where investigators have been trying to crack down on rampant government corruption.

Britain’s Department for International Development said Monday that Ibori “systematically stole funds” during his two terms as governor and deposited the money in bank accounts around the world.

It says the money he stole was equal to $60 for every person in Delta state, and that the money could have provided education or clean water for more than 400,000 poor Nigerians.

The British investigation against Ibori was led by the London police’s Proceeds of Corruption Unit, which investigates allegations of graft against foreign politicians, who often hide or launder their money in Britain.

Britain’s international development secretary, Andrew Mitchell, said Monday that the money stolen by Ibori will be returned to Nigeria’s poorest people.