JAMES Ibori’s girlfriend and mistress Udoamaka Onuigbo has appeared in a UK court video link from Nigeria in the ongoing confiscation of assets hearing taking place to determine how much of his illegally acquired wealth should be seized.
Chief Ibori, a former Delta State governor, who admitted to stealing more than $250m was sentenced to 13 years in jail after he pleaded guilty to money laundering and corruption. He has since served his term and has returned to Nigeria where he remains among the power brokers in Delta State but the court is yet to determine what happens to his UK assets.
Prosecutors from the London Metropolitan Police found that Chief Ibori used the money he stole from Delta State to buy six houses in London. He paid £2.2m in cash for one of those mansions in Hampstead and he also bought a £13m jet, a £600,000 fleet of Range Rovers, and a £120,000 Bentley.
Chief Ibori also put his children in expensive British private schools while sharing the stolen funds with his wife, sister and mistress. A known pilferer when he worked at departmental store Wickes, Chief Ibori is desperately trying to retain some of the properties, claiming he acquired them legitimately.
Newspaper reports claim that Chief Ibori may be asked to pay back £116,821 and Ms Onuigbo and his wife Theresa, sister Christine, may be asked to return a combined sum of £2.6m. However, Ivan Krolick, Chief Ibori’s lawyer, argued that the former governor was a successful businessman and his assets were acquired from the proceeds of his business dealings.
However, prosecutor Jonathan Kinnear, said: “Mr Ibori cheated his way into the position. He abused his position of trust by systematically looting funds.