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28 July 2017 08:36 (South Africa)

Nigerian court dismisses 170 charges against former state governor

Authorities in Nigeria have made great efforts to crack down on graft, but they may also have to come down hard on the judiciary to get anywhere. And that’s another battle completely. A federal court has cleared James Ibori, the former governor of oil-rich Delta State, on 170 counts of laundering millions of dollars, saying there’s no clear evidence with which to charge him. That’s a lot of charges to beat, and makes one wonder whether it’s the court or the prosecution that are incompetent. It’s especially worrying for the graft-busters, as in 2007, a British court froze $35 million of Ibori’s alleged assets, despite his annual salary being less than $25,000. The country’s economic and financial crimes commission, which brought the charges, says the judgment could deepen corruption. The courts seem less inclined than the EFCC to deal with the pandemic. Only one former governor has ever been convicted, and he was fined $25,000 for stealing $21 million. That’s not even a slap on the wrist. That’s picking his teeth for him. Read more: BBC, ICPC

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