Monday, August 06, 2007

Ibori bought Willbros Nigeria for $155 million

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Ibori bought Willbros Nigeria for $155 million

The mafia style engaged by some notable Nigerian politicians is gradually becoming clear to watchers of events in the country. Former Delta State Governor, Mr. James Ibori is arousing wide-spread curiosity on account of his alleged role in using his executive influence to overwhelmingly use some Niger-Delta militants to drive out of Nigeria a well known oil servicing engineering company, Willbros Engineering. Ibori bought the Tulsa, Oklahoma based company for a record $155 Million and the company hurriedly left town.

Only last week Ibori’s £20 million assets were frozen by the London Metropolitan Police through a British High Court order.

In a development that has been described by intelligence sources as “typical” and “a matter of consistent pattern” the Ibori-Wilbros matter may have now become a guiding light for unraveling the source of fund and ammunition that regularly stoke insurgent activities in the Nigerian oil rich Niger-Delta.

Also being investigated in the same vein is former Governor of Bayelsa State, Mr. Diepreye Alamieyesiegha who is also alleged to have used some Ijaw youths to stage kidnaps and ransom demands to blackmail the central government in Nigeria in order to foist a fraudulent air of power and influence.

According to investigation, Ibori and Alamieyesiegha, two Nigerian prominent politicians already indicted for corrupt enrichments and stealing of public funds and money laundering activities could face possible extradition to the United States if there is “actionable intelligence” identifying them as sponsors of kidnapping activities aimed at expatriate workers in Nigeria. Already the Central Intelligence Agency, CIA is said to be closing in on some of the alleged activities of the Governor which were aimed at “funding of illegal arms and kidnappings in Nigeria.” learnt that Mr. Ibori once expressed interest in acquiring majority share in Willbros Engineering sometimes in 2005. His overtures were rebuffed. The officials running Willbros operations in Nigeria did not know that that would not be the last episode of a saga that would later attract the attention of the entire world. Ibori was said to have bid a retreat and started a complicated plot that would eventually lead to his eventual take over of the lucrative company.

A source who wanted anonymity “in respect of discussing a top security even” revealed that Ibori allegedly contacted a militant group which he purportedly sponsors and allegedly made a deal that would later lead to the abduction of nine Willbross workers in February 2006.

It was said that the company did not suspect any connection between the Governor and the kidnappers. Willbros was said to have innocently solicited the help of the Governor to secure freedom for its hostage workers. Ibori was said to have promised to assist within the shortest possible time. Of course he did.

But forceful abduction of oil workers did not stop. Willbross officials therefore panicked and went back to Governor Ibori to willingly beg him for a possible take over of the company. He expressly obliged and made an initial payment of $105 Million cash. He would later come to the United States shortly after leaving office to pay the balance of $50Million to Wilbross parent company in Oklahoma before proceeding to Monaco to attend the wedding of the son of Abacha’s ally and Lebanese billionaire, Gilbert Chagoury.

A company source at the headquarter offices of Wilbros confirmed to that the deal with Mr. Ibori “was a cash transaction and we would not want to say more than that please.”

In 2002 there were suspicions that Governors Ibori and Alamieyesiegha were involved in importing arms into Nigeria. The immediate purpose for the importation was not clear. But the two strong men of Nigeria South-South politics took advantage of a moratorium granted on importations by the then nascent Obasanjo leadership. The cargo allegedly loaded with arms escaped security scrutiny. Recent increase in militants’ activities in the Niger-Delta, incessant armed robbery and unresolved mysteries of contract killings have led investigators into concluding that those importations may have links.

Despite obvious logic indicating that Ibori may have been involved in (terrorism) to spread feelings of fear and insecurity in Nigeria, nobody can vouch for a smooth ride for CIA in seeking for his extradition to the U.S. Washington may not have the full backing of the present administration in Nigeria in seeking to bring people like Ibori and Alamieyesiegha to justice on activities classified as “terrorism.” Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo was said to have made an inexcusable gaffe in allegedly obtaining detailed “intelligence report” on Ibori and Alamiesiegha and instead of taking action in accordance with the law, he was said to have used his knowledge of the issue to blackmail Ibori into donating N10 Billion to the Yar’Adua for Presidency campaign. The N10 Billion campaign donation by Ibori remains his ticket for unhindered access to the presidency.

1 comment:

tz paco said...

Good Lord! $155 million? For Christ's sake, how much did this man steal?