N25B Fraud: Lucky Igbinedion Charged, Faces 58 Criminal Counts
SAN FRANCISCO, Feb 02, (THEWILL) - Previously convicted former Governor of Edo State, Chief Lucky Nosakhare Igbinedion was on Monday charged for stealing and criminally converting Edo State Government shares in Access Bank Plc and Afribank Plc. He is also accused of diverting billions of naira in state funds for his personal use with the aide of top banking and asset management executives.
Chief Igbinedion is to face a 58-count-charge preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in a Benin City Federal High Court.
EFCC spokesman, Mr. Femi Babafemi told THEWILL in conference call that the charges were filed today.
THEWILL checks at the commission revealed that the former governor has contacted the commission through his lawyer and has assured the anti-graft agency that he would be in court next week when the matter is expected to be heard. Checks have also revealed that Lucky Igbinedion has informed the EFCC of his location.
The commission had threatened to contact INTERPOL to issue a red notice for his arrest and repatriation.
Igbinedion is known to shuttle between South Africa, Dubai, Malaysia, London and the United States.
In 2008, he pled guilty to a one-count charge after an initial 191-count charge of fraud, theft, embezzlement and money laundering running into several billions of naira was amended in a plea deal at a Federal High Court in Enugu State and was fined a ridiculous N3.5 million naira.
The EFCC thereafter rejected the sentence and filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal but the matter has not witnessed any reasonable progress since then.
Lucky Igbinedion was unarguably one of Nigeria’s most corrupt governors with a very poor record of service while he was Edo State Governor between (1999-2007). He refused to pay pensioners and owed civil servants months of unpaid salaries while he converted several government real estate into his personal assets.
He also allegedly acquired mansions in posh neighbourhoods in South Africa, Dubai, London, United States, Abuja and Benin City with state funds.