16/04/2012 Newsnight


The stories behind the day's headlines. Tony Blair and Jeremy Paxman debate tax dodging, the Tory chairman fights her corner and corruption in Nigeria.

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The unravelling of George Osborne's budget. Chapter 33, what once was


said to be so clear is now shrouded in a fofg granny taxes, tax evaders,


tax avoiders and pasties, that is not all:


Labour this week will force a Commons vote on the plan to cap tax


breaks on giving to charity, severely test the loyalty of


Conservative MPs. The former Prime Minister, Tony


Blair, tells the Government, where it is going wrong. And the current


chairman of the Conservative Party, will doubtless be very glad of his


advice. And then, this.


As a massive money laundering trial ends, they are protesting in


Nigeria in favour of corruption. gave me $50 million in cash, a big


sack. How big is a sack with $50 billion? A big one.


The Prime Minister said today that he wanted to see more giving to


charities, yet one of his own ministers admits that the planned


changes announced in the budget will have what he calls an impact


on donations. "shambles" was the word used by the Charities Aid


Foundation to describe the limits to charitable giving. Coming on top


of the granny tax, the pasty tax, the income tax, and to say nothing


of the Francis Maude memorial petrol panic. Some MPs are


wondering what on earth has gone wrong. Allegra Stratton reports.


Seen opened up like this, Downing Street looks like a happy doll's


house, with interconnected posh carpets rooms, and a Warren of cosy


dens, conducive to the construction of policy. This week the Georgian


doors seem to have got jammed, a good news and bad news story


merging, David Cameron has come under scrutiny. His impartial civil


servants, meant to be helping him keep an eye on Government, stand


accused of inyou are ining him to the voters. All problems are


supposed to have stemmed from the budget, the budget from hell as it


has been Chrisened. The problems have been lingering on from that.


It was the infrastructure announcements of tolling on roads,


most Conservatives hate those those plans. There is the minimum pricing


on alcohol, that the policy makers pushed for but Conservatives do


hate. Sources have told Newsnight that policy unit submission goes


straight to the Prime Minister, with departmental special advisers


having no chance to object to ideas, which is often where the political


elephant traps lie. One adviser to the Prime Minister said to his face


in a meeting, is the problem for Whitehall special adviser is they


didn't know who to call when there is a problem in the department.


People across Whitehall have been told by people from Number Ten that


they are thinking in too ideolgical a way. Something people in


Government and the coalition Government has told me that Downing


Street has a lot of influence but not much power. Under the


Government currently, most of those have left Downing Street, you have


a department staffed and run by civil servants. The problem with


that is if you don't have strong political people in the centre,


they don't have the same political antenna for things that might be


happening in the departments. For example, things like the problems


that the Government had over the health bill. I think it is a


question of whether they could potentially have a stronger, more


political Downing Street operation. Someone who ran the policy unit


under Gordon Brown thinks that David Cameron has a problem.


Labour's was an era where policy was crafted on sofas, not desks.


Since the 1970s when the policy unit was created under Harold


Wilson, it has had the same structure half-a-dozen politically


committed experienced policy experts. David Cameron was the


first Prime Minister, since the 1970s, to get rid of that structure


and replace it with civil servants, that is a big mistake, because you


don't have people to scrutinise mistakes the departments might have


made, and things like the NHS wouldn't have happened on my watch


and others over the years. loyal Tory MP thinks a focus on the


bricks and mortar of the Conservative operation is misplaced.


The reality is we are mid-term with a Government that is doing the most


radical things a Government has had to do, in the mid-of a time when


the economy is not growing, and lots of -- middle of a time when


the economy is not growing, and lots of people are having miserable


lives. The surprise to me is it is two years before we have problems


in the press, and being unpopular, we thought we would be the most


unpopular Government ever within three months of coming into office.


If a problem with the policy unit is overdone, there is a fault line


within Downing Street, horse trading between the Treasury and


Liberal Democrats, saw the Liberal Democrats give into the abolition


of the 50p rate f it could be showed money was being clawed back


in other areas of the budget. This wasn't the bricking up of the Prime


Minister from inside, but it was the quad, bricked up away from


everyone else. Each one was happy with the top line result of the


budget, but they left the details to other people. To the horror of


even their most loyal fans, the charities tax undermined The Big


Idea society. Today the Conservatives fought back to


explain why they had driven for a The daylight illuminated less


helpful figures for the Government. As the BBC business editor blogged


today, the data showed over 73% of those earning over �250,000, were


paying an average tax rate of over 40% in 2010/11, complicating the


Chancellor's reason for scrapping the 50p rate. This was never to be


introduced until next year, plenty of time to get it right and consult


and listen. The key principle is, for more charities and


philanthropic giving, yes, but allowing people to drive their tax


rate down, when some of the richest people they are, no. Right now


David Cameron's MPs are out campaigning in the local election,


which they fear could be quite bad for them. Their chances are not


helped, they feel, by new taxes, with irritatingly catchy titles.


Before the next round of elections, there are very fine Georgian walls,


that may yet have to be reduced to rubble.


A man with some experience of the slings and arrows of Government, is


the former Prime Minister, Tony Blair, who happens to have been


trumpeting the virtues of philanthropy in Washington this


evening. Tony Blair, is the Government right


to think about capping the level of tax relief on charitable donations


at �50,000, or a quarter of income? To be fair to them, this is a


consultation, so they have the opportunity to think again. I think


it is wise if they do. Because, if I were them I would just separate


out these issues to do with tax avoidance and charitable giving.


I'm here in Washington addressing the Global Philanthropy Forum, all


around the world the philanthropic sector is doing more. Most people


want to give to charity to do good rather than escape tax. The


important thing is to separate those things out, if there is tax


avoidance deal with that in a different way. We should be doing


everything we can at the moment, to encourage the philanthropic sector,


the third sector was a large part of our Government agenda, it is


still very important n in times of economic difficulty even more so.


Would you prefer a person paid the potential level of tax envisaged


under it, or gave the money to Tony Blair Faith Foundation? If people


want to give their money there, I'm delighted. You don't run


foundations unless you are trying to raise money all the time. Anyone


giving money to a charity, if they are giving it to a genuine


charitable cause, they are losing money. If they retained that money,


even if they paid tax on it, they would still retain some of that


money. If they give it to charity they lose that money. They give it


to a charitable cause. If they are not giving it to a genuine charity,


or the charity's not doing work with a proper public benefit, there


is an armoury, a battery of rules that you can bring in to bear, to


make sure that doesn't happen. That's why I think, mixing these


two things up is unfortunate. I'm sure the Government don't


intentionally want to harm the philanthropic sector, that would be


daft, I'm sure they don't want to do it. What they should do now,


they have the time. I have been through many situations like this,


sometimes things slip through, they are not right. You have the chance


with a consultation to correct them. The important thing is to correct


them, and not end up in a battle with the philanthropic sector,


which they will find difficult to win.


How can it be right that a multi- millionaire pays a lower rate of


income tax than a teacher or lorry driver? They shouldn't. People pay


the top rate of tax at 50p, they should pay that. If someone gives


to a charitable cause, for many, many years, if they give to the


charity, they are losing the money, they are giving the money to the


charitable cause. If you want to encourage the philanthropic sec to


Governments have necessary roles to makes there are things that


Government does very well there are things I that discovered in


Government, that the third sector, the voluntary sector, do better


than the Government. It is the job of successive Governments to


encourage this charitable sector. If you want to encourage it, you


say to people, give your money to charity, that is a good thing, not


a bad thing. That implies a no upper limit of any kind, just


encourage them, eh? Why not encourage it. The philanthropic


sector today in the UK, is worth billions, it isth does fantastic


work, at local level, international and national level. It is important


to encourage it. This conference I was giving the keynote speech at


today in Washington there were philanthropists from around the


world, including the UK, they do great work F their charities aren't


doing good work, or we introduced, I think, in 2006, actually as the


Government introduced an amendment to the charities law, saying


charities have to display a public benefit. If not take action against


the charities. Don't end up in a situation where you are implying


that people are donate to go charities for tax avoidance, I


really don't think that is the case. Do you think the climate is


changing in this country, the climate of opinion towards wealth


creation, do you think it is souring? When times are really


tough, and times are tough in the UK, here in America, round the


world at the moment. Then I think there is a risk that people mix two


quite separate things up together. One is how do we make sure that


people pay their fair share of tax, and the other is, how do we get the


economy growing? What is important to realise is that wealth creation


and entrepeneurship will always be part of a growing economy, we


should encourage. That obviously people should pay their fair share


in tax. In any of these situations there is balance to be struck, and


I think it is important to get that balance right. Now, by the way, all


Governments go through these periods, that's for sure, but I


think what actually is important at the moment is to distinguish


between having a tough time as a Government, because you're taking


an unpopular decision that you have genuinely worked out and believed


to be right, and having a tough time because the decision is not


properly thought through. contrast is with your Government


who recommended Fred good win for a Knighthood? -- Fred Goodwin for a


knighthood? If you want to go back over those debates you can, I don't


think they really impact on now. The question now is how do you make


the tax system fair, how do you, at the same time, create a tax system


that is rewarding entrepreneurship and wealth creation. Do you think


they were wrong to get rid of the 50p tax rate and reduce it to 45p?


I will deal with one issue at a time. The reason I'm dealing with


this now is because I'm giving this speech on philanthropy and its


importance. I think with this, I'm not making some great heavy


political point, I'm simply saying they have the time to consult,


consult. If I were them I would literally just disentangle these


two issues, they are separate issues. I bet you're glad you are


not in Government now, aren't you? Government, as I always used to say,


is a great privilege, but it can be sometimes very tough. That's to be


expected. But, you know, it, as I used to tell the Labour Party, it


is better to be in Government than opposition. I read your speech


earlier, you seemed to suggest at one point that philanthropy is


potentially more inspiring and more effective than many of the


mechanisms of Government, do you really believe that? I believe


there is certain things that only Government can do. So only a


Government can put through education, health reforms, decide


levels of public spending, I described in my speech how Northern


Ireland's not a process that can be done outside Government. But I also


do think that Government itself today has got to reform, Government


has to become more strategic, more empowering, less top-heavy, the


philanthropic sector, and the private sector, by the way, can be


great partners in this. I do think we are entering an age in which, if


you want to get things done, that is the key challenge of Government


today, it is efficacy, how do you get the job done? Then the


philanthropic sector can be more creative, imaginative and


innovative than Government. It is not substituting for Government,


but in its proper place it can be a great inspiration and compliment to


it. One final point on the current state of the Government, given the


state it is in, why isn't Ed Milliband doing better? He is, he's


putting his case forward, he is articulating where he thinks the


country should go. Look, Labour was only put out of office a couple of


years ago. It is not surprising in this first period of opposition it


is tough, but there is a long way to go. I think one of the things


that is interesting, actually, about this present situation, by


the way, since I know how difficult it is, I'm not giving advice to


anybody. You wouldn't have lost the Bradford West by-election, would


you? You can't say that, actually, I don't know. What I do know is, I


think if I had put my finger on anything that I think is a problem


for the Government, it is the nature of this coalition, I think,


sometimes. Which is more a marriage of convience than conviction. Is


that if they are not careful, they end up having to satisfy one side


and then the other side. In that policy trade, I think you sometimes


get incoherence, that's as mild a criticism as you can make. But I


think it is quite an important one. If I were them looking forward, I


would try and make sure that before these policies are announced a


little more indepth policy work is being done.


Tony Blair, thank you very much for joining us.


The person being blamed by some Conservatives for the mess that the


party's in is the home improvements fanatic, Sayeeda Warsi, or to give


her the right title, Baroness Warsi, the Party Chairman. Do you think


the budget was a success? The way in which parts of the budget have


been communicated, subsequent to the budget being announced, could


have been done better. Because it is a coalition, so much of what was


in the budget, which traditionally wouldn't be in the public domain,


was in public domain. Those bits that weren't, were the bits seized


and discussed in detail afterwards. It is all the fault of the Lib


Dems? No. A Conservative Government would have been watertight, you are


suggesting? The coalition means Governments can't be as watertight


than if it was a single party. it is the Lib Dems? It is the


reality of the coalition. We are two parties, we talk to our


individual parties when these decisions are being made, and some


decisions are made public. Conservative is this Government?


Well it is interesting, because I spend a lot of my time campaigning


and activists ask me that question. One of the things I take around


with me, and is with me today, is the Conservative manifesto, which


gives me a God indication of what we are delivering and how much is


in the manifesto. That is a notebook? It is the


manifesto from 2010. Wouldn't the coalition agreement be


more relevent? It is trying to put together the bulk of the


Conservative manifesto and the bits of the Lib Dem coalition. For me it


is showing what we campaigned for in 2010 and what we are delivering.


Why are you garnering, almost a month after the event, such


unhelpful headlines in sympathetic newspapers? There is a lot of


miscommunication, some of it in terms of how we communicated it in


the Government, some of it in the way it was reported. Look at them,


the Telegraph, Mail, the Guardian isn't your friends, and the Mirror,


I don't know what that is doing up there. The Mail, the Telegraph, the


Sun, your friends, that is not helpful, is it? If you unpick each


and every one of those arguments. Let me take a typical one, the


pasty tax. A very serious matter? Labour made it into an issue of


class, so if anyone, a northerner, someone like you and I eating


pasties all day and this was an attack on our lifestyle. They


failed to understand, that the chip buttie, or chicken and chips, or


any other snacks we may be eating as working-class people, have VAT


on them. It was right that the Government in the budget take an


opportunity to close the loopholes. There is something deeper than that,


there is, what seems to be, a profound incoherence at the heart


of policies announced in this budget. For example, cutting the


top rate of income tax from 50p to 45p, that yields about how much?


don't know the exact figure, but it yields more at 45p than 50p.


lose about �50 million, according to projections, and possibly �100


million the next year. Capping the rate of donations to charities,


yields what? Is that a another thing you don't know? The figures


are still to be made clear on that. That is between �50-�100 million?


At the moment it is out for consultation. Let me unpick the


charities' tax as it is called. are taking with one hand and giving


with the other, it doesn't make sense, it is the same people?


you look at the charities' tax as it is called. Let's break what it


is about. What Tony Blair has just said is it is absolutely right,


people are generous, people give to charities and philanthropic causes,


and that has to be encouraged. You can't have a situation, say if you


are a middle or low income earner, you make your contribution, it is


called tax. It goes into the general public purse. If you are


very rich and you can actually give away your income in a way where you


abort into the 10p brand or else, you are saying, because I am richer,


I can choose which causes I want to give to, rather than the general


public purse. What the Government is saying is there has to be a


balance. You have made this case, your party has made this case


repeatedly, all I'm arguing or suggesting to you is it is slightly


incoherent, that is all? When you are in coalition. This is the Lib


Dems' fault too? When you are in coalition it is not as easy to have


a very clear view and matterive, which is based upon the principles


of one party. The Conservative Party have some very clear


principles, the majority of the coalition Government, and what we


are delivering in Government is part of those principles, there are


other principles, Liberal Democrat principle, that butt up against


that, out of that sometimes comes an incoherence. It is not always


easy to have a clear, Conservative narrative. However much I would


like it and argue for it, for 2015. You are conceding the Government is


incoherent, what about the question about the further influence of the


Lib Dem Government? What I'm a saying is it is not always easy to


put a single coherent argument on single coherent principles, because


we have two parties in the coalition. We have two sets of


values, and two sets of narratives, which come together to put forward


a Government programme. There is one single narrative, that is this,


as Party Chairman I feel it more than anything else. That is, that


we are acting in the national interest, not in individual


political interests. Does it help to have people like


Vince Cable, who have apparently agreed the budget, immediately


coming out and denoinsing some of its measures? That is a matter --


we nouncing some of its measures? That is a matter for Vince, I


believe if you standby a decision once it is made. Doesn't it make


you hopping mad? I recently described Tim Farren, not in


cabinet part of the coalition colleagues we work closely with.


Maybe if you were outside Government you would be a more


effective Party Chairman? Unlike Tim Farren who sits outside


Government. He can say what he wants? I described him as a bad


episode of Come Dine With Me, I don't think it is right people sit


down and eat your food and slag you off in the cab home. When you are


in coalition and partnership, it is about being in it together, and we


standby the decisions we make together. But those parties in


coalitions throughout Europe and the world, they try to carve a


singling out for themselves. I want to see from my party, I'm glad my


Conservative colleagues uphold to, that is a more collective approach


to responsibility, and coming to agreement, let's stick to them.


Just before he left office, Tony Blair bitterly remarked that the


media in this country had become like a feral beast. Nothing such


creatures like more than a bit of political chaos. Three who left the


confines of polite society are with us now.


James Purnell, Miranda Green, and Fraser Nelson, the editor of the


Spectator. Last time you two were here was on the budget night?


I was watching. Very loyal. Did you imagine that a month on we would


still be talking about the budget? We did say it was a big risk, the


cut to the 45p, there was quite a lot of discussion about the grany


tax. I think we were fairly cautious about that. It is not just


Lib Dem and Conservative coalition, you have The Big Idea society and


economic liberals, in the Lib Dems there is the Social Democratic side,


like Shirley Williams, then the orange-bookers, Nick Clegg, and


David Laws, you also have the Tory right, which can veto anything at


any time. The danger is it is hard to get big new things off the


ground, because there is always someone who can return it. They


could agree the coalition agreement, but it is very, very hard to come


up with new ideas, someone always around the table says they won't


stand for it. There is something in that, we hear about the "quad", the


elite group of four who agree everything behind closed doors,


Osborne, Nick Clegg and Danny and Vince. That is not getting both


parties to agree. David Cameron has a particular problem with his own


backbenchers who think he should have won the last election outright.


They disagree with them fundamentally. They think if the


party shifts to the right they will win another election outright. He


won't do that, because he knows it is wrong. It is frustrating that


what the Government is getting right, radical school and welfare


reform, is being eclipsed by a long list of things, the pasty tax and


granny tax. It is not so much to do with bad spin, they don't really


engage their brain a lot before making ale policy. This group of


four, the quad, they passed what is now known as the charity tax,


without realising the extent of the effect it would have. If that was


thought through properly, there is a proper political unit in nen


Number Ten, as in stair's day, they would have thought about this


before, and you wouldn't have got to the stage where you are making


the announcement first and working it out only seeing it in the next


day's paper. It is easy for media smart arses to make that sort of


comment after the event. But that is what happens in Government,


isn't it? You have to keep battering on, always, two or three


years into a Government, this sort of thing happens. You hit choppy


water? I was in the policy unit before, it was a tightly-knit band


of political advisers, through opposition together, they could


read each other's minds, we were quick at spotting political


problems. Having said that we were criticised for having too many


special advisers and it was spin gone mad. In a way you can never


completely win. There is also a question about whether the


Conservatives have drawn slightly the wrong lesson from Tony Blair.


We were told they all went out and read his book. He said hi a big


majority and I wasted it, and didn't do enough with it. They


haven't got a big majority, maybe they should have done what he did


in 1997, which is cautious with his political capital, do big things,


like education and constitutional reform. Make sure you win the next


election, in a way they read the book but applied completely the


wrong lesson. You are shouting "slow down"? Yes, there is a lot of


criticism that the Government is trying to do too much at the same


time, and rushing ahead, because they have the blairb book as a


background manifesto. There was too much of a reaction against Tony


Blair, David Cameron prides himself in how few special advisers he has


got. My advice is he hasn't enough. We are not seeing ale could igs l


but a coup at the at that time with -- coalition, but a coup de etat.


You need a grey beard saying no goodwill come of this, or something.


That is what the Civil Service are saying, they are saying don't do


it? They are saying no, Prime Minister, you don't want any of


these nasty special advisers. about George Osborne, supposed to


be the master tactition, election planner and winner in all, where is


he in all of this? Has been on holiday. But it is certainly true


to say this budget was not a great advert for Osborne the master


tactition. But then again, we are mid-way through, you show me any


Government that is not taking a kicking, two or three years into


the term. It is always happening. It just seems a lot more


embarrassing, because there are things that are so avoidable. The


10p pension increase that Labour had to endure, that was one mistake.


It seems we are getting this almost every week. What is interesting


about that period, the 10p tax, we were losing tax discs, that was a


big story, is the smaller things become a big story when there was


not a big driving thing happening. It doesn't have to be a detailed


strategy, but a guiding policy. The Government has lots of different


ones at the same time. Why isn't Ed Milliband doing better, Tony Blair


was pretty loyal and supportive, pretty discreet? He's 11 ahead in


the polls. Tonighter on talking about the problems in the coalition


and two months ago it would have been the problems with the Labour


Party. What has happened with the budget is there is a shift in the


mind set. An inevitable ability about a Cameron majority in the


next election is not there any more. The polls shifting is really


interesting, they have shifted since the budget, which is


significant. Except for the Lib Dem ratings? Glossing swiftly over that.


We are at a mid-term cusp. If we are heading to a hung parliament,


who will be the larger party. This is a moment when the main parties


need to get a grip, the Liberal Democrats we will leave to one side


in terms of getting a grip. It could be a moment for Labour to


actually capitalise, or it could be a moment for the Government to


discover this narrative they lack. We are looking as the Lib Dems


won't be an effective force in politics? It is a tough set this


week as well. No Lib Dem going into a coalition with the Tories ever


thought it would be easy, they expected a kicking, they are


getting one, there may be a reward at the end of it, they may not.


They have lost half of their political support, the portion


voting Lib Dem is the same as visiting Elvis is alive, it is not


a good time to be a supporter. Nick Clegg thought when they went into


coalition in Scotland, it wasn't the same effect. You are seeing


this blue Tory cimen to night in the Lib Dems, weakening them.


I wonder if they will recover. Nick Clegg makes brave concessions, but


they appear to be an opposition party. We say where's Ed Milliband


now? 11 points ahead in the polls isn't that bad. Cameron was


punching the air when he got this in opposition.


Thank you very much. We probably all at some time had


one of those e-mails inviting us to help ourselves to free millions of


pounds, if only we will share our bank accounts with someone in


Nigeria. The former Governor of An oil-rich Nigerian state will be


jailed tomorrow, in what is called the world's biggest money


laundering scam. James Ibori stole millions from state accounts, and


hid the cash around the world. Britain was a focal point. The


Treasury Department showed its anti-corruption credentials by


funding the police investigation. But part of the department also


invested millions in companies which are now themselves under


investigation as money laundering fronts.


Money makes the world go wrong. How can a human being do this to


his fellow human being. It is what happens when billions


are stolen from Africa's poor, by their own politicians.


He gave me $50 million US in cash. Their crimes are hidden by contacts


and institutions in the rich and developed nation, the west.


He was obviously bringing large amounts of cash with him on the


flights, he was flying in and out of London like nobody's business.


It's January 2004, police are called to a hotel in Marble Arch,


where a guest is outside his room on the fifth floor, giving away


money. He was throwing �50 notes around


like confetey. What? Giving the staff money. Just like that.


came out of the hotel, and the staff lucky enough to pass in front


of his hotel room was just given money, because he had so much.


The guest with the hot cash was a senior politician, a state governor,


from nigh gearia. His arrest, over time, would -- Nigeria. His arrest,


over time, would lead police to worldwide networks set up to


launder money. Politicians from Africa would steal millions, and


people in supposedly respectable offices in London and elsewhere,


would bury the trace, cover them up, so they looked legitimate. In


Nigeria state governors rule the roost. They are viewed with awe or


contempt. In Nasarawa, supporters of Aliyu


Alhaji Akwai Doma, their former governor, are on the streets.


Domino's himself is at the courthouse, he's charged with


stealing $100 million from state coffers. In the past decade, since


their colleagues' cash give Yayladagi at the hotel, governors


of more than half Giffordsaway at the hotel, governors of more than


half states have been brought to bear. Justice, like everything


elsewhere, though, can be compromised. One Nigerian observer


said to me, rather ruefully, this is how we celebrate corruption.


The consequences of corruption are just around the corner, no


pavements, no roads, and filth. This is the centre of the state


capital, Lafia. Everything has gone bad. All the situations is, the


infrastructure, there is none. is the business district? This is.


This is the business district. Detectives from London, following


up on the governor who gave away money, went to Nigeria to testify


in a number of cases. It was a culture shock.


Peter gave evidence, that was a little tricky, to say the least. We


had an armed escort, we felt reasonably safe. There were 500


security personnel looking after our welfare at the time. There was


guns everywhere, I must admit. It was hair-raising to say the least.


The London detectives, funded by Britain's development for


development, had joined -- Government for development had


joined forces. We were going after the governors, it was very


difficult, they were extremely powerful. None was more powerful,


than the biggest target of all, James Ibori. In the scale of


corrupt governors, where would you place James Ibori? Very much on top.


James Ibori robbed Nigerian state funds of untold fortunes, but he


started out here, in Ruislip, west London, working as a cash year in a


hardware store, he was sacked for allowing his wife take �200 worth


of DIY material without paying. The following year he was arrested


again, this time for using a stolen credit card. He now had two


convictions for dishonesty, and facing county court judgments for


debt. It was 191, and James Ibori fled back to -- 1991, and James


Ibori fled back to Nigeria. He was broke and at rock bottom. But by


the end of the decade, James Ibori had managed to become one of the


richest and most important rulers of all Africa.


The Niger Delta should be one of the most prosperous regions on


earth. It produces billions worth of oil, while the people live in


poverty, the riches are skimmed off for the elite. James Ibori fell in


with Nigeria's military rulers, and became Governor of Delta state, his


salary was $25,000, but as leader of the elite, he was a wealthy man.


This man set up the anti-corruption squad, his prime target was James


Ibori? He was buying companies all over, he had aeroplanes and


properties in South Africa, in the UK, in the US and so on.


What's more, he was offering huge bribes. He gave me $50 million US


dollars in cash. $50 million? cash, a sack. How big is a sack


with $50 million? A big one, a huge one. How could you resist the


temptation? There is no difference between $100 and $10 million, as


long as it is a person and the cash is not your's, especially for an


individual fighting corruption. While in office, governors in


Nigeria are immune from prosecution, but at the end of Ibori's term, he


was charged with corruption. This is one of the interrogation rooms,


where Nigeria's politically exposed people, governors accused of


corruption, are brought. For the last ten years the man conductsing


those irtergaigss and investigations is -- interrogations,


and investigations is here. His biggest challenge is James Ibori?


We left him until last, because we no knew he had a lot of influence -


- we knew he had a lot of influence, but we also knew what was coming


after his arrest. Ibori faced 170 charges, and all dismissed by a


court in delta state. A devastating blow for Nigeria's anti-corruption


squad. Meanwhile, anti-corruption work had


amassed too many enemies, they tried to kill him. To my shock, I


saw a pistol. The car was bullet- proof, it needed to be.


On a country road he was ambushed. After a second attempt on his life,


he went into exile, leaving behind a political class that was rotten,


none more than James Ibori. He was a product of this completely


corrupt system, and he came like this tower of the whole thing. He


was so rich and powerful. With corruption thwarting justice


inside Nigeria, 3,000 miles away, there was a breakthrough.


Investigators have been following the activities of the bent African


politicians, in particular of James Ibori.


You could see huge amounts of money being transferred, coming in from


Nigerian companies, huge amounts of cash being paid into the accounts.


They live an extortionate lifestyle, there was $180,000 a month being


spent on a credit guard which Mr Ibori was using, every month. What


was he buying? He was spending money like water. Jee should have


been in Poland on a trip for his country, for 16 days, he spent two


days, and then flew off to Miami for the rest of the days. He was


bringing large amounts of cash in with him, he was flying in and out


of London like nobody's business, all the governors were.


Ibori's �5 million house in Hamstead is now up for sale.


There is this parliamentary party in Abbey Road, the country pile in


Dorset, and various properties around the globe. He also has


luxury cars on three continents, private schools for his children,


and tens of millions in assets still to be traced. For the key to


it all, laundering his stolen cash, he had a bent London solicitor.


The lawyer's name was Bhadresh Gohil, he worked for a firm in may


hair. -- Mayfair. The law firm, unaware


of Gohil's crimes, had officers here, across from the Ritz.


We know Gohil did work for a former President of Zambia, who was


himself accused of gross corruption. More significantly we know that


Gohil helped James Ibori launder his millions. For that crime, Gohil


had particular expertise. Gohil was the money laundering


officer for his country. If there was any suspicions around any


accounts, from members of staff, they would have to go to him.


was the compliance man? That's correct. When the police raided


Gohil's office, they found plans mapping out money laundering scams,


to hide Ibori's fund. They were on a computer hard drive, hidden


behind a fireplace. One scam described a $5 million project for


the purchase of Ibori's latest toy, a private jet. The money went to


accounts in Switzerland, from accounts in Mauritius, Germany,


Luxembourg, Nigeria, on four or five occasions. It goes back to


Nigeria? It goes back and forth. had cap importing to Polynesia.


Ibori's wife, his mistress and sister, have been jailed for money


laundering, along with Gohil who got seven years. Ibori himself will


be sentenced tomorrow. The story isn't over.


Britain's development secretary, Andrew Mitchell, says his


department spent �5 million funding the investigations into London and


Nigeria. It showed their commitment to rooting out corruption. We found


one branch of his department is itself allegedly embroiled in


Ibori's cash laundering. Three years ago an anglo-Nigerian


business man warned the private enterprise arm that it had put


millions into a company that was laundering his money. We have


learned that Nigeria's anti- corruption squad, part funded, has


drawn a criminal investigation into the company's private equity


investments. It places him on both sides of the investigation. That is


an incredible paradox, that the same people who have funded the


prougs cushion are the same people who have funded activities which


are now being investigated. Amid the decay of corruption, the young


suffer once. Some of Nigeria's politicians


learned to read and write in this school.


Back then it had a proper roof, windows and a floor. Now, there is


none of that. Look at these schools, they are in


bad shape. Look at the rot, most of the roads are not paved.


Exactly how much James Ibori stole from his country, is a matter of


speculation. But one American diplomat said it could be as much


as up to $3 billion. What does it make you feel about Nigeria?


and frustrated, it makes you angry that you want to go after these


people. The Department for International Development told us


their investment is now under investigation in Nigeria, but they


were investigated here three years ago, and there is no indication


that British funding has been misused.


That's all from us for now we leave you tonight with this handy tip, if


you think you might one day be appointed President of the World


Bank, there are some things you might possibly not do, even if your


students think it is funny. The President of Dartmouth college in


New Hampshire, today got one of the biggest jobs in world finance,


despite having this skeleton in his closet.


# I had the time of my life # And I never felt like this way


before # And I swear


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