Oil magnate claims ownership of $15 million Ibori bribe •Says money meant to finance PDP for 2007 election
AN oil magnate, Chibuike Achigbu, on Wednesday, filed an application before a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja claiming the ownership of the 15 million USD allegedly received from a former governor of Delta State, James Ibori.
Achigbu had, through his team of counsel comprising Adeniyi Akintola, Okey Amaechi and Abiodun Owonikoko, all SANs, filed the application before the court, saying that the money in issue belonged to him.
Achigbu had submitted that he gave the money to Dr Andy Uba, a former aide to the then president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, for the purpose of financing the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) during the 2007 general election.
He further submitted that he first sought legal advice on whether he could raise money to donate to support the PDP and its candidates throughout the federation for the purpose of winning the 2007 general elections.
He also said that he set a target of N3 billion which he intended to raise through himself and his associates.
However, by April 2007 when the election had drawn near, he had raised money in excess of N2 billion after which he realised that such donations could only be made and accepted through a financial institution.
According to him, in order to legitimately apply the fund, he approached Uba for relevant agencies of government to investigate and certify that the fund was raised honestly and in good faith with a view to donating same to finance the PDP.
He said that Uba advised him to deliver the fund to him (Uba) for onward transmission to Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) being the agency of the Federal Government sufficiently equipped to give a clean bill of legitimacy to the fund before it could be donated to PDP.
In an affidavit he filed in support of the application, he averred that, “Andy Uba was a Special Assistant in the Presidency who offered to take custody of the fund with a view to inviting EFCC to carry out the audit and certification before being donated to the PDP.”
Achigbu further said that after he had delivered the money to Uba, he heard the rumour about an attempt by Ibori to bribe the chairman of the EFCC.
He said that he had nothing to do with Ibori so the rumour did not strike him as having any bearing with the fund he delivered to Uba for clearance by EFCC.”
He explained that due to the political ambition of Uba to become the governor of Anambra State, he lost contact with him and was not able to reach him to ask for an update regarding the fund.
He further averred: “That it was not until several months after Uba’s election was voided at the Supreme Court that he succeeded in making contact with him.
“That Uba, in a telephone conversation he had with him sometimes in the early part of 2008, confirmed that, as agreed, he did invite the EFCC to take custody of the purported unclaimed fund and revert on their investigations about its suitability for the purpose that the fund was intended.”
Achigbu said that he, however, did not believe Uba and suspected that he (Uba) had diverted the money to fund his electioneering expenses when he was campaigning for governor of Anambra State.
He said that he chose not to pursue the case any further because he, "took the view that God had sufficiently avenged Uba’s betrayal when his election funded with the money was voided by the Supreme Court less than a month into his tenure in June 2007".
He said that since then he and Uba had become estranged.
However, on the night on August 27, 2012, he received a call from Uba informing him about the latest development concerning the $15 million and that the money in question was the same money he collected from him, he further averred that Uba specifically confirmed to him that it was Ibrahim Lamorde, the then Director of Operations of EFCC, that was superficially instructed to receive the money from him (Uba) on April 25th, 2007.
Achigbu said that Uba had also agreed to depose to an affidavit to own up to the facts deposed to in his application.
The court has fixed September 17 to hear the matter.Share
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