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Econet Founder Strive Masiyiwa Tells Why he Testified Against Ibori in UK Court



Strive Masiyiwa

Executive Chairman & Founder of the Econet Group, Strive Masiyiwa, is an active campaigner against corruption in Africa.

Over the past couple of days, Masiyiwa has been sharing some deep insights into the subject matter, and also revealing details about his experience with former Delta State governor, James Ibori, and why he gladly testified against him during his trial in the UK.

Below is one of the posts he shared via Facebook:

It’s time to play by a different (ethical) set of rules (Part 10) Nigeria 4

__Witness for the people of Africa.

Corruption often involves very sophisticated bankers and lawyers in Western financial centers. When corruption happens in Nigeria, or any other African country, it usually also happens at the same time with at least one accomplice on the other side of the world, whether in London, Geneva, or the like.

The London lawyer Bhadresh Gohil, who I wrote about in my last post, is just one of scores of international advisors who handle the sophisticated movement of money in the world, in this case the money stolen from the Nigerian people and hidden in overseas bank accounts.

___When you choose financial or legal advisors, choose very wisely. Your very life could depend on it.

When Mr Gohil and other family and associates of Delta State governor James Ibori were arrested in London, I was asked by the British government to be a state witness in their trial. I agreed without hesitation.

Being a witness in such a case is not easy. It meant that I had to stop working for several weeks and just focus on preparation to give evidence. I knew I would be grilled in an open court by expensive defense lawyers who would try to challenge my integrity.

I was told that many potential witnesses had declined to give evidence in open court out of fear.

Not me!

I headed to England as a “Witness to Her Majesty’s Government.” For me personally, I went as a “witness on behalf of the people of Nigeria and Africa.” It was my duty.

A witness can help ensure justice is done. Solid evidence is crucial in ensuring the truth is heard and that the rule of law is upheld. Without witness testimony, criminals can operate with impunity, one of the greatest threats to Africa’s future.

What is impunity? It basically means evil actions have no legal consequences. As a result, criminals are allowed to stay busy committing their crimes, knowing they can get away with it without punishment.

___A culture of impunity endangers the prospects for prosperity and security in Africa in every imaginable way.

Mr Ibori’s wife, his sister, and his mistress, who each had each received money from the sale of the shares in V-Mobile (which were assets of the people of Nigeria), were also arrested in London and were sentenced to five years in prison.

My written witness statements were submitted and I prepared to appear in court to be cross-examined.

The night before I was due to take the stand in an open London court as witness for the state, I was told Mr Gohil and his associates had suddenly pleaded guilty. My lawyers told me that my witness statement was too strong and Mr Gohil and his team were afraid they would get even stiffer sentences!

In late 2010, Mr Gohil was sentenced to a total of 10 years in prison for crimes including conspiracy to defraud, conspiracy to make false instruments, money laundering and proceeds of crime. The sentencing judge said to him, “You were a solicitor of the Supreme Court and holding out as a man of integrity… You have brought shame on your family, your profession and your country.”

When corrupt people like this get into trouble, they often pay some of the best lawyers in the world to help them get out of it. Taking them on successfully requires authorities equally determined and sophisticated in their approach. These authorities in turn need the cooperation of witnesses prepared to stand in court and help with the prosecution…

Visit Masiyiwa’s Facebook page to see more of his writings on the matter



  1. Le coco

    October 15, 2015 at 5:28 pm

    Yes.. Thank you sir.. well done.

  2. presh

    October 15, 2015 at 5:35 pm

    A week go in class while we were taught business ethics , a colleague of mine showed me a post on facebook where this man wrote how he was dealt with in nigeria, they asked him for an outrageous amount of money as kick back, he refused vehemently. IBORI told him categorically pay or i will chase you and your people out of this country, he didnt and they chased him away.

    • Tari

      October 15, 2015 at 7:54 pm

      Ibori is a thief and Strive was actually chased out of the country.
      However, Strive is not telling the complete story. This case is well documented.
      Strive was not chased away solely because he refused to pay bribes but more because he refused to bring cash to match the equity he was to take up in the company. That part must not be swept under the carpet. Severally, they found buyers for his stake put he will claim he had right of first refusal. Bring money to the the table, he will be playing them (the other equity partners) like ball. They got pissed and chased he and his Econet workers away.
      Ibori is a thief but I think Strive tried jobbing the wrong set of men. Some balance to the tale is necessary.

    • tracy

      October 18, 2015 at 9:35 pm

      You are wrong. Nigeria is not the first country where he has a licence. So why will he not pay for his shares. He has come out to say it with facts and figures. If u don’t have facts and figures I suggest you get them before saying he was trying to job people. For ur info he has his shares now. It takes a bold person with nothing to hid to name names.
      So did V mobile not also have money to pay for shares or Zain or celtel?

    • Ayi Moses

      October 18, 2015 at 10:07 pm

      Tari, Thanks for putting it all in perspective. Strive Masiyawa failed on so many different occasions, to put his money where his mouth was in the Econet issue. When the GSM companies entered Nigeria, there was no transmission backbone for them to ride on, to deploy their services. They had to build everything from scratch.

      Tons of money was being spent every single day to build the mobile telephony infrastructure. MTN started its backbone dubbed Y’ellobahn. Econet started something similar, too. But at a certain point, the operations team of Econet became cash-strapped and strive was asked to put in funding to enable the business continue its operations. He made promises to do so several times, and failed to deliver. There is a point at which a business gets to, and if more cash is not injected into it, so that it can grow, such a business will wither from within and eventually die.

      Strive gave the Iboris & co, the ammunition to use against him when he failed to fund the business as required, in tune with his large shareholding in Econet. And he refused to give up part of his equity, so that new investors with cash could be brought in to fund the business.

  3. where is nene+

    October 15, 2015 at 6:12 pm

    Oya come and do your job, loool

    • Olu

      October 15, 2015 at 9:21 pm

      LOL ..She na Oga!!

  4. Tosin

    October 15, 2015 at 6:17 pm


  5. kenny Jossy

    October 15, 2015 at 6:39 pm

    I encourage anyone who have not had the opportunity, to go to Facebook and ready from part 1 thru 10 what this great man Strive Masiyiwa had to say. He’s a role model and i’m very proud he’s an African. This man is a good example for every sane African who is prepared to say goodbye to the old ways that is not work and embrace new things.

  6. Nneoma

    October 15, 2015 at 7:10 pm

    Thats how its done Strive, …and because of that youre still soaring high
    Mwari varopafadze

  7. Bobolink

    October 15, 2015 at 10:32 pm

    What a strong and courageous man!

  8. dupsy

    October 15, 2015 at 11:04 pm

    I knew that Ibori was not innocent like he is crying or claiming to be! How can they put you in jail if you are innocent of not stealing money? Naija leaders and their twisted mindsets when it comes to being held accountable for their wrong actions. Until we really sit down and face the black and white of truth and lies in this country, we are all just wasting our time. The annoying thing that our politicians who are siphoning our money abroad don’t know is that western bank accounts are heavily monitored by their governments. You can’t just mysteriously put millions in a bank account without proof of legitimate acquisition of such funds. They are closely monitoring our so called leaders and have more that enough proofs to prosecute them and land them in prison. Forget their hiding these monies under other peoples names or bank accounts. The truth is evident for all. Be prepared for more prosecution of many of our leaders internationally. Just watch this space, they are like the proverbial ostrich who hides his face in the sand thinking he is safe meanwhile his whole body is exposed to the world. How can you steal money meant for other people and hide it abroad? No salaries payment, bad roads, no electricity, poor universities, the list is endless. and the looting and stealing continues without the fear of God or even the common man! These Naija leaders are something else honestly!

    • Usuji

      October 16, 2015 at 12:08 am

      Gbam!!!!! bless you for this comment !

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