Theresa, the wife of former governor of Delta State, Chief James Ibori, has been named among a number of convicts owing over £1bn of fines to the United Kingdom.
The London Evening Standard newspaper reports that Theresa, who is one of the “major debtors,” still owes just under £5m of a court fine imposed for her role in a £50m fraud committed by her husband.
The report said she had failed to pay the fine despite owning a home in Hampstead, UK and missing a deadline for repayment that ran out in May.
The list of 7,000 convicted debtors includes major drug importers, fraudsters and other serious criminals, who have still to pay back their “unlawful gains.”
The report says each convict owes an average of about £150,000. The total outstanding debt to taxpayers has risen by nearly £250m in the past three years and now stands at £1.017bn — equivalent to at least 40 new secondary schools or several hospitals.
“Most of the criminals have ignored deadlines to pay fines imposed by the courts. Many also received legal aid,” the paper said.
Among the worst cases highlighted in the new figures, obtained by the Evening Standard from the Crown Prosecution Service, is that of ‘fraudster’ Craig Johnson.
“Johnson, who was originally jailed for 12 years in 2006 for a VAT scam, owned a £3m stately home in Staffordshire and lived a multi-millionaire lifestyle. As well as two helicopters, he had an Aston Martin, a Ferrari and two Bentleys.
“He has been returned to jail after failing to pay £21.9m four years after being ordered by Wolverhampton crown court to pay back £26m. Prosecutors seized assets worth £3m, but say that he is an ‘uncooperative defendant’ who has ‘extensive overseas and hidden assets’ that are helping him to evade repayment,” it stated.
Ibori earlier had been convicted and fined in the UK for fraud-related offences, while his female associate, Udoamaka Okonkwo-Onuigbo, was recently released from a UK prison after serving a five-year jail term for money laundering and mortgage fraud. She was tried alongside Ibori’s sister, Christine Ibori-Ibie.
Ibori, himself, is currently serving a 13-year jail term in a UK prison for charges of fraud to the tune of $250m. This came after Justice Marcel Awokulehin of the Federal High Court, Asaba struck out 170 charges preferred against him.