How do you turn an annual salary of $25,000 into a fortune worth more than $250 million?
Become the governor of a Nigerian state.
The BBC reports that James Ibori, a former governor of the oil-producing state of Delta, pleaded guilty in a UK court to ten counts of money-laundering and conspiracy to defraud.
Ibori spent his ill-gotten loot on, among other things, six London houses and expensive British private schools for his children. Meanwhile, the children of Delta—described as “some of the poorest people in the world”—were deprived of sanitation, power supplies, and healthcare as Ibori funneled money from the state budget to his personal account.
It turns out that this was not Ibori’s first (or even second) conviction in a UK court. In what amounted to a dry-run for his later efforts as governor, Ibori and his wife were found guilty of stealing from a DIY shop in 1991. A year later, Ibori was caught in possession of a stolen credit card, which he used to fraudulently withdraw nearly $2,000.
Ibori sought to downplay his checkered past by simply claiming none of it ever happened: Prosecutors say he “tricked” his way into becoming governor by lying about his age and stating he had no criminal record.
Curiously, the BBC article called Ibori “one of” Nigeria’s wealthiest politicians. This left Via Meadia to wonder: If $250 million doesn’t grant you the top spot in Nigeria, then how many other Nigerian politicians are still plundering public treasuries?