Former Governor James Ibori of Delta continues to consolidate his reputation as one of the most ingenious and mindless embezzlers of state resources of all former state governors. Documents of his ongoing money laundering investigation obtained by Saharareporters paint a lurid picture of Ibori’s compulsive taste for luxury, especially in the acquisition of luxury cars and high-priced, choice property.
The documents reveal that, during his eight years in office as Delta State governor, Ibori acquired a number of top line automobiles. His obsession with automobiles was widespread: he used his questionable wealth to purchase American-, German- and British-made cars.
And as if his lust for cars was not enough, he set his sight on conquering luxury jets as well. As we earlier reported, he bought a brand new Bombardier Challenger 604 jet with monies looted from Delta State.
In person, Ibori tries to project the image of a member of the Mafioso. Dapper in appearance, his signature bowler hats also lend him the look of a pimp.
He even made Canada’s Bombardier Aerospace Company, the manufacturer of his jet, to “pimp up” his private jet by making finicky requests on four occasions for stylistic adjustments on his jet. His dream for a custom-made jet jerked up the cost of the jet by another $100,000 and added several weeks to the delivery date.
Ibori’s requests ranged from seeking additional headrests for 12 seats in the jet to asking for the inclusion of RCA jacks to make the aircraft iPod compatible.
While Saharareporters does not have a census of James Onafefe Ibori's cars in Nigeria, one of his former aides revealed to us that the former governor “is a car freak.”
Documents obtained by Saharareporters describe Ibori’s acquisition of a state-of-the-art armor plated Mercedes Benz (Maybach 62 Maclaren) vehicle in May 2005. The car, with registration number XC05 AAM, is one of the hallmarks of Ibori's appetite for luxury cars. The car’s price tag was 406,600 Euros ($582,654.12 USD). Ibori bought it from the Mayfair Mercedes Benz dealership situated at 105 Wigmore Street, London, W1U 1QY. After paying for the car, Ibori had it shipped to South Africa with all paperwork completed through his address at Flat 23, 20 Abbey Road, London, NW8 9BJ.
Payment for the vehicle was done by one of Ibori’s front companies, “Stanhope Investments Limited,” with payment instructions issued via PKB PRIVATE BANK AG 12 Charles Galland, Geneva, Switzerland.
In all, Saharareporters discovered that James Ibori owned three other luxury cars in London, parked in garages of his different homes in London. He is the sole registered owner of a Bentley Continental GT with registration number LK54 NFT, a Chrysler car with registration number LN51 FRT and a Jaguar with registration number W933VLP.
Ibori’s real estate holdings are also spread all over the UK. Investigations at the UK land registry revealed that he owns 7 Westover Hill, London HA3 0LZ with title number MX 207021. Saharareporters gathered that the property was fully paid for as of 2001. The amount paid for the property was £2.3 million, but the property’s current value is £4 million. The property is registered to Haleway Properties Limited, a company registered in Gibraltar by a company formation known as BC Centrum at 788 Finchley Road, London. James Ibori and his wife, Theresa Ibori, are the beneficial owners of Haleway Properties.
Ibori also owns the property located at Flat 23, 20 Abbey Road, London NW8 9BJ, with title number NGL 699019. Registered in the name of James Ibori, the property was purchased in 1999 with an initial deposit of £157,000. On April 12, 2000, almost one year into his tenure as governor, Ibori made a further payment of £90,000. A final payment of £70,081 was made on July 25, 2000. The property is now approximately worth £750,000.
On July 29 2005 another of Ibori’s several front companies known as Telaton Quays Limited acquired a property at 42 Great Ground, Shaftbury, Dorset SP7 8FF. The property is registered at the UK land registry under title number DT 326978; the property was purchased for £298,995 and is currently valued at £350,000. The contract was handled by Mr. Bhadresh Gohil of Arlington Sharmas Solicitors.
Saharareporters has discovered that the payment for the property was made by James Ibori's mistress, Udo Amaka Okoronkwo through a cheque in the sum of £311,000 dated July 20, 2005. A copy of the conveyance obtained by Saharareporters points to Ibori and his wife, Theresa, as having purchased the property through Telaton Quays Limited. A correspondence from Ibori to Bhadresh Gohil indicated that the former governor gave specific instructions directly to Mr. Gohil to complete the purchase.
Another -James and Theresa Ibori own a properties company in London by the name Boyd Properties Limited that is managed by BC Centrum on 788 Finchley Road in London. On March 23, 2004, Ibori appointed Udo Amaka Okoronkwo to act on Boyd Properties Limited with the authority to sign documents relating to sales and purchases of assets by the company. In one instance Boyd Properties paid £388,077 to Peter Brown Solicitors in the purchase of 36 Hunter Lodge, Calton Gate, Maida Vale, London W9 3TQ through an HSBC account number 91310801 located at Buckingham Palace Road, Belgravia. Boyd Properties Limited is believed to own several assets in London that are yet to be discovered by UK police investigators.
Adebimpe Pogoson, who was hired by Ibori under the name of “Miss Bimpe Faloye” in 1997 while he was the publisher of Diet newspaper (now defunct), is a bit player in Ibori’s real estate deals.
In London, Bimpe retained her address at 58 Uphill Drive, London, NW9 0BX where she paid council tax until June 30 2005. After the EFCC began to track her for involvement in money laundering, she fled Nigeria and returned to London. Once in England, she moved into Flat 39 Barons Court that is owned by Ibie Ibori, according to UK Land registry records.
Ibori’s real estate holdings in Nigeria are also legendary. He owns Number 21 Idejo Street off Adeola Odeku. The massive duplex was bought under the name of his sister, Ibie Ibori. Ibori also owns 21 Probyn Road off Bourdillon in Ikoyi. The property, with twin duplex swimming pools, barbecue resort gardens and lawn tennis court, was reportedly bought from G Cappa Construction Company whose MD used to reside there. Ibori also owns 18A Adeyemi Lawson Road off Macpherson Avenue Ikoyi and 10A, B&C Turnbull Road Ikoyi.
On December 9, 2003, Ms. Adebimpe Pogoson issued a twenty million naira postdated cheque to Diya Fatimilehin and Co. for part payment of Plot 5 Block 4 Layi Ajayi Bembe Street off Turnbull Road, Ikoyi. The cheque was drawn on Assurance Bank.
Ibori is also suspected to own the property housing the Corporate Affairs Commission in Asokoro, Abuja.
In the State of Florida, Ibori is heavily invested in the real estate sector through HFA Development Group with account 3200056255 ABA NO 266086554 at CITI Bank, 1600 Coral Way Miami, Florida 33145. Another company is Primi LCC with offices in the United Kingdom and Nigeria with A/C NO 003677025981 ABA NO 063100277 at the Bank of America, 2308 Pouce De Leon Boulevard, Coral Gables, Miami, Florida 33134.
He is also the owner of Bond Technologies. On December 8, 2003, the company received a transfer $74,000.00 from Ibori's KOLN account number 109091012 at Gulf Bank in Nigeria. Bond Technologies’ account number is 61006602 ABA Routing number 063108680 with the Bank of Tampa, 13868 North Dale Mabry, Tampa, Florida FL33618.
Ibori’s Florida projects were mostly coordinated by Olusegun Fowora who lives in Aventura, Miami, Florida in a $750,000 mansion with a view of the ocean.
Saharareporters contacted Segun Fowora who initially feigned ignorance of James Ibori and hung up the phone on us. A few days later, he called our reporters back and admitted that he was friends with James Ibori. He also said he is a contractor with the Delta State government handling "medium size" projects. Though he admitted knowing about HFA Development Company because he had done business with the company before, he denied any involvement in Ibori’s money laundering activities.
James Ibori is also believed to own properties in Texas, Los Angeles, and New York City. A source told Saharareporters that the FBI has begun investigations into his economic activities just as he returned to Nigeria last week.