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Friday, 14 May 2010

image for Nigeria ex-governor James Ibori 'freed on condition he will serve as Chancellor of the Exchequer'
Stealing $290m (£196m) qualifies Ibori for prison or position in government.

Nigerian political powerbroker James Ibori has reportedly been freed on bail in Dubai, where he was arrested on corruption charges, pending his acceptance of a position in the new British coalition Cabinet: Chancellor of the Exchequer.

The former governor of oil-rich Delta state is accused of stealing $290m (£196m) by Nigeria's EFCC anti-corruption agency, making him ideal for another government post requiring such skills.

He has had to surrender his passport to ensure he does not leave the country, officials say, though it will be returned if his destination turns out to be Downing Street.

Nigeria wants to try him on corruption charges, which he denies, and unnamed representatives in the UK want to try him out on their own financial system.

Some Nigerians are asking how he managed to leave the country and travel to Dubai. These persons have not been seen since.

Mr Ibori's spokesman Tony Manero and an unamed Dubai police official said the former governor had been freed on bail.

He was a senior figure in Nigeria's ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) and played a key role in the 2007 presidential election victory of Umaru Yar'Adua, who died last week.

Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) head Farina Wazoo told the BBC that Mr Ibori had been arrested on Wednesday following the intervention of the international police agency Interpol.

It is not clear yet whether Mr Ibori will face extradition to Nigeria or an appointment to the British Cabinet.

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