‘There are bigger thieves than Ibori, just they’re smarter’ – Ribadu

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Past Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, has said there are  government office looters worse than convicted former Governor of Delta State, James Ibori, who are still “walking free in the country”.

Ribadu told Zero Tolerance, a magazine published by the EFCC’s media unit in a recent interview.

Ribadu noted that there were and still are, smarter criminals who did more damage to the fight against corruption in Nigeria than Ibori.

“Probably, he was not the smartest one among them, but there are some crooks worse than James and I still see them. Some of them are even being celebrated right now in our country.

He said while he fought corruption passionately and diligently, he never took the effort personal as he strove to do only what was expected of him as a law enforcement officer.

He also pointed out that there were people who he investigated and brought to justice who attempted to do more damage to him than the former Delta governor.

“James was not different from all others; and while doing this type of work, they will fight you back. I have seen a lot of fighting back all my life, and that of James was not as bad as the others.

“His own was very public that is why. There are those that even attempted to kill me who are still out there. This is the type of work that when you do, you must expect a thing like that,” Ribadu said.

He criticised some judges, while also commending others. He said many criminals in Nigeria escape justice with the connivance of some judges. He said while Ibori was acquitted of 170 charges by a judge, another Federal High Court Judge “sent him to prison for two and a half months.”

Ribadu, also explained the circumstances that led to the arrest and prosecution of a former Inspector General of Police, Tafa Balogun. He said the former IGP “crossed the line.”

“Whoever crosses the line will be dealt with, whether a constable or an IGP, it is the same thing. The solution is not to cross the line,” he said.

Ribadu’s unceremonious exit from the post was largely blamed on the Ibori case as the former governor was a major backer of the then President, Umaru Yar’adua.

He insisted that there are worse people in Nigeria other than James Ibori who is serving a 13-year prison sentence in the United Kingdom (UK) after he was  prosecuted and found guilty of stealing and laundering billions of naira of Delta state money by a Southwark Crown Court 9 in London, on April 17, 2012.

It will be recalled that Ibori who was the governor of Delta state between 1999 and 2007, was initially investigated by the EFCC under Ribadu before he later faced Farida Waziri’s prosecution.

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