British court shown footage of James Ibori's display of ill-gotten wealth

Disgraced former governor James Ibori
CC Global Insight

A court in the United Kingdom was shown footage of disgraced former governor, James Ibori's sprawling home in Nigeria. 

Complete with marble columns, a private gym, cooks, maids and chauffeurs, the mansion offers a revealing and rather unfortunate glimpse into the egregious excesses of Nigeria's leaders. 

Footage of the property at Clement Isong Street in Abuja, taken by Nigeria's Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) when it searched the home this year, revealed a level of luxury unimaginable to most of Nigeria's 170 million people. 

The film showed a monumental facade with white marble columns two storeys high. Inside were vast reception rooms adorned with crystal chandeliers, gilded mirrors and marble-topped tables.

The property also boasted a large private gym with a treadmill, cross-trainer and other fitness equipment. A close-up shot inside one of several marble bathrooms showed a power shower with electronic control panels.
Last year Ibori pleaded guilty at London's Southwark Crown Court to 10 counts of money-laundering and fraud in one of the biggest embezzlement cases seen in Britain. He is serving a 13-year term at Long Lartin maximum security prison in England.
Shown as part of a confiscation hearing in which prosecutors are seeking court orders for Ibori's assets to be seized, the film featured a directory of telephone extensions across the property including the "children's parlour" and "staff house".
A list of staff and suppliers included multiple chauffeurs, cooks and housekeepers as well as details of how to reach the "TV man".
Footage of what appeared to be the master bedroom showed an enormous bed with an ornate velvet and silver headboard, facing a large flat-screen television flanked by four high-tech standing speakers.
Outside the house were parked a luxurious Range Rover with TV screens on the back of the leather seats, a red Lexus car and a Toyota pick-up truck. EFCC investigators were filmed searching under mattresses, inside drawers and inside a toilet tank.
They could also be seen looking through papers found in the property including what appeared to be an invoice from French luxury goods maker Louis Vuitton.
That such footage was shown in open court in London will be a humiliation for a man who was once addressed as His Excellency and courted by crowds of people seeking his patronage.
Ibori was not present in court, having declined to attend the confiscation hearing.
In his heyday, Ibori was a power broker at the heart of Nigeria's ruling party, the PDP. He is by far the most prominent Nigerian politician to be held accountable for the corruption that blights Africa's most populous nation and top oil producer.

Also on Tuesday, there was startling revelation that the former governor also owns a third of Oando Oil, PLC. The same Southwark Crown Court in the U.K. was told on the second day of the confiscation hearing, that Ibori himself made the declaration to a bank with which he wanted to open an account a few years ago.

Ibori is said to have described himself as a “very rich man who owned 50 per cent of a bank and 30 per cent of an oil company,” when he wanted to open a foreign bank account in 2004. The court was told Ibori said he “earned $10 million per year and has a net worth of $100 million." 

More to follow.