Convicted Nigerian politician returns to country from Britain

ABUJA/LONDON – James Ibori, who as governor of oil-rich Delta State became one of Nigeria’s richest and most powerful men, has returned to the country after serving a sentence for corruption in Britain, his lawyer said on Saturday.

“I can confirm that he left last night and arrived this morning in Nigeria,” Jonathan Chike-Epelle, Ibori’s lawyer in Britain, told Reuters by phone.

Local media have said he remains influential in politics, and in an interview with Reuters on Tuesday, Ibori did not rule out a political comeback.

Arrested in 2010, Ibori served half his 13-year sentence – as is normal under British procedures – after pleading guilty in 2012 to 10 counts of fraud and money-laundering. He was released in December, but is still locked in a battle over his assets.

While in office, Ibori acquired luxury properties in Britain, the United States, South Africa and Nigeria. He is the most senior Nigerian politician to have been held to account for the corruption that has blighted Africa’s most populous nation.

His jailing in Britain, where he had laundered millions of pounds and sent his children to an expensive private school, was hailed as a high point in the international fight against graft and an important signal to other corrupt politicians.

Source: Angola Press News Agency