That, according to Strive Masiyiwa’s account, would be mainly James Ibori, the Governor of Delta State (in Nigeria) at that time.
From his personal recount of the events leading up to his telco’s exit out of Nigeria, we were able to gather that ex-governor James Ibori played a significant role in expelling the telecoms company from Nigeria based on the founder’s insistent refusal to pony up some bribe money.
Here’s where Strive singles out James Ibori as the mastermind behind his company’s early exit:
“I refused to authorize the illegal payments…. The money would not be paid as long as Econet was the operator and I had signing authority.
James Ibori, the Governor of Delta State, was demanding $4.5m be paid to him in his personal capacity. He was one of the most powerful men in the country and had a reputation for violence. When he heard that I was refusing to approve payment he issued an ultimatum:
Pay or I will chase you and your people out of the country.
The shareholders met and voted Econet Wireless Nigeria out of management. They cancelled our management contract. James Ibori and his colleagues personally attended the meeting to remove us.”
Well, it seems James Ibori went on to have a successful political career, even staying on for a second term as governor. But if we’re considering this tale as a classic “tale by moonlight”, with a moral at the end, well, it seems he got his just deserts as well.
Since 2007, he has been barely a step ahead of the law, both local and international, trying to escape conviction on money laundering charges. Eventually, in April 2012, he was sentenced to a 13 year jail term by a British court and is currently doing time.
Like I said, just deserts.