Nigeria: Ibori's Alleged Accomplices Plead Guilty in V-Mobile Shares Trial

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

Two alleged accomplices of the former governor of Delta State, James Ibori, have pleaded guilty to V-Mobile shares theft charges. Daniel McCann and Mr. De Boer were charged for forgery and money laundering in relation to the sale of V-Mobile telecoms shares owned by Akwa Ibom and Delta States. They are accused of violating the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act of the UK by creating fake documents between Delta State and "Africa Finance Ltd," and also between Delta and "African Development Company."

They are also accused of creating a false account that used both men's names as beneficiaries as part of a scheme to hide the fraudulent nature of the transactions. Daniel McCann pleaded guilty before the Southwark Crown Court judge, last week, while Mr. De Boer had pleaded guilty in a similar trial last December

Late last year, Ibori's UK-based lawyer, Bhadreh Gohil, who was accused of participating in the laundering of funds realised from the sale of V-Mobile shares owned by the governments of Delta and Akwa Ibom had also pleaded guilty.

Others who are accused in the scam include Mr. Ibori, David Edevbie, a former Principal Secretary to Umaru Yar'Adua; Love Ojakovo, a former Commissioner of Finance to Ibori and Henry Imashekka, a business associate of Ibori.

The accused face 14 counts of forgery and money laundering in relation to the sale of V-Mobile telecoms shares by two from the Niger Delta region. The accused men reportedly used front companies to defraud the Nigerian states of a total of $37.8 million realised from the sale of the shares.

Prosecutors alleged that a company named "Africa Development Finance Company" was the major conduit used to steal the funds.

In an instance cited in the case summary, prosecutors state that an $11 million loan was purportedly granted to an aviation company that assisted Mr. Ibori in purchasing a jet from Canada; $10 million was given to "Ascot Offshore Nigeria Limited," the company that Ibori used to purchase Wilbros; and another $790,000 was granted to another fake firm "Africa Development Co." and an offshore nominee firm.

The two men alongside Mr. Gohil will be sentenced on February 21, 2011. UK prosecutors expect that Mr. Ibori would be coming to London soon after the United Emirates Authorities give a green for UK Metropolitan Police to move him over to London where he is expected to face three separate trials for money laundering, forgery and graft. The successful prosecution of Ibori has so far netted his wife, mistress and older sister.