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‘Corruption will likely make you rich’ – Strive Masiyiwa

HARARE – The downfall of the linchpin in the Nigerian telecommunications saga set a parameter for uprooting the tentacles of corruption in...

HARARE – The downfall of the linchpin in the Nigerian telecommunications saga set a parameter for uprooting the tentacles of corruption in Africa.  
Text by Derick Matsengarwodzi: communication consultant, author and founder of The Aloe Media. Interact through: Facebook; Email:; Tinzwei blog:

James Ibori, the centre of vice in the oil-rich Delta State in Nigeria finally succumbed to the long arm of law after a prolonged investigation into his illicit operations. His invincible tag finally vanished when he was nabbed in Dubai and confined to 13 years in custody.  

Absolute power corrupts
“James Ibori had a great deal of power. What he did with some of his power was blatantly steal from the Nigerian people. Public money meant for public development, instead diverted by slick operators to several personal overseas bank accounts across the globe. Instead, he even tried to bribe anticorruption commissioners,” writes Masiyiwa.

He added, the governor also stole about 10% of the share payments that should have gone into Delta State coffers and stashed it overseas.

The Econet boss discloses: “Unbeknown to him at the time, the British government had passed a similar law to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, known as the British Anti-Bribery Act. He had been under investigation since 2005. The UK bank receiving the money alerted the authorities, as they are required to on such large amounts.”

A fugitive of justice
Masiyiwa further writes, “Mr Ibori managed to elude justice for a while because he had immunity as a state governor. Even when his term ended, he was still protected by powerful people in President Yar'Aduah's government. When Yar’Aduah died, Ibori became scared because the London lawyer (and accomplice) Bhadresh Gohil had exposed him.” 

He fled to Dubai but the British traced him through Interpol and brought to the UK for trial. During trial, Ibori pleaded guilty in February 2012 because his associates including Mr Gohil had already pleaded guilty to money laundering, implicating him in several crimes. He was linked to 10 offenses. In April 2012, he was sentenced to 13 years, says Masiyiwa.

Save your soul
“The arrest was a stunning victory in the fight against corruption. We will not end corruption on this continent unless we are prepared to pay a price to end it. This means that you and I must be prepared to lose what may appear to be the deal of our lives. And let me tell you, when it is happening it is never easy – of course it is hard.”

Masiyiwa, a devout Christian then turns biblical. 

“Jesus said what is it for a man to gain the whole world but to lose his soul? If you engage in corruption, you will likely become rich – probably very rich, with all the material things in this life. Most likely you will never be caught like the hapless Ibori, and his advisors. But The Master said: “You will lose your soul”. The Aloe News    

• This text cannot be reproduced without prior consultation with the author.   

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