by Akan Ido
An Abuja Chief Magistrate’s Court yesterday ordered the inspector general of Police (IGP) to comprehensively investigate the complicity or otherwise of both Senators Andy Uba and Chibuike Achigbu in the alleged $15m bribe offered by former Delta State governor, James Ibori to the former EFCC chairman, Nuhu Ribadu.
After hearing the suit filed by Festus Keyamo against Uba and Achigbu, where he accused them of conspiracy, abetment and bribery in respect of the alleged Ibori bribe money, Chief Magistrate Sunday Ogakwu directed the IGP to look into the allegations and turn in his findings by September 26, 2012.
Chibuike Achigbu had filed a motion in court laying claim to the ownership of the $15m and in a curious twist dropped the case 48 hours later leaving many observers suspecting a foul play behind the scenes.
Reports say in the notice of discontinuance filed by his counsel, Chief Adeniyi Akintola (SAN), Achigbu did not state any reason for discontinuing the case.
The notice reads: “The intervener/applicant hereby discontinues this suit against all the respondents therein.”
To further fuel widespread speculation, the Delta State Government, also went to court praying it to compel the 3rd respondent, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), to release the said money to the people and government of Delta State.
The Federal Government in its application for forfeiture had argued that the $15m was received by the officers of the EFCC from an undisclosed agent of Ibori in 2007 as a bribe to compromise its investigation.
It maintained that since Ibori had denied giving the said cash to the EFCC or any of its officers, the state government can no longer lay claim to it.
The $15m question however still remains: Who should lay claim to the said money? The Delta State government, the federal government, Senator Andy Uba, Chibuike Achigbu, or the people of Delta State?