A former governor of Delta State, James Ibori, has vowed to appeal a United Kingdom court ruling on Friday ordering a confiscation of 101.5 million pounds linked to him.
Delivering the confiscation order, Judge David Tomlinson of the Southwark Crown Court, said Ibori should pay the sum immediately or face an eight-year jail sentence.
Reacting after the ruling on his Facebook page, Ibori said he would appeal against the confiscation order, one of the largest imposed on an individual in recent British legal history.
The ex-Delta State governor said despite “some of the most logic defying rulings” against him, he had believed that that justice and fairness would eventually triumph.
Adding that he has accepted his fate despite the inability of the British prosecutors to show any evidence whatsoever of monies defrauded or indeed missing from Delta State, Ibori insisted that he would appeal the ruling.
His post read in part, “Today’s ruling from Judge Tomlinson is difficult to comprehend and even harder to accept. I have to move past the fact that the British Courts found themselves competent to sit in Judgment over contracts awarded in Delta State for contracts that were legitimately awarded and completed.
“I have come to accept my fate despite the inability of the British prosecutors to show any evidence whatsoever of monies defrauded or indeed missing from Delta State.
“Since 2005 the British Prosecutors have investigated my assets worldwide, they have had a restraint order in place on most of those assets and they are well aware that the total monetary value of those assets is nowhere close to the sums that were the subject of today’s Order.
“Not withstanding the fact that many of the assets are not and have never been owned by me – it seems that if you are my friend and you allowed me to spend some holiday time in your house, then by this order I now own your home and must ask you to sell it to satisfy the Order.
“The Order made today was to be paid immediately, this was made in the full knowledge that it could take many months to actually realise the sale of many of these assets. There is an 8 year default sentence, which means that if I do not co-operate and pay nothing at all, then the prosecution can apply for the imposition of the default sentence.
“However as the prosecution already has a Restraint Order over the assets – the situation of my not co-operating or paying will not arise.
“However, an issue arises if my Restrained Assets are sold, and the total realised from the sale does not equal the amount in the Order, then the Prosecution can still apply for part of the default sentence to be applied, but they could only ask for a sliding scale reduction of the 8 years default sentence based on the amounts that remain outstanding.
“If such an application were to be made it would be vigorously contested. In the normal course of events any talk of a default sentence would normally be stayed until any outstanding Appeal has been concluded.
“The Judge in this case has appears to have cast aside any pretence of impartiality and has made an Order which is both wholly unrealistic and unrealisable. He has completely disregarded any arguments, evidence or expert witnesses in my favour.
“It was apparent during these last 2 days that he has forgotten many of the important elements of the case which is unsurprising as it almost 2 years since the case concluded. It has taken him 2 years to write this Judgment and in the interim he has presided over hundreds of cases, but I refuse to make excuses for him.
“At this point in time words fail me and so the question for me as I take my case to the Court of Appeal, is, if I continue to believe that I may finally get some Justice is this the definition of madness? I know one thing for sure, that if I do not go to the Court of Appeal to contest this outrageous Order then my people will definitely say that I am a madman!”
Release From Prison
In 2011, the 63-year-old former governor was extradited to London from Dubai after fleeing Nigeria.
The following year, Ibori admitted to 10 charges of fraud and money laundering and was sentenced to 13 years in prison.
Ibori was released from prison on December 21, 2016, upon a court order, Channels Television reported.
The judge, Mrs Juliet May, ordered the immediate release of Ibori, a judgement Ibori’s spokesman, Mr Tony Eluemunor, described as a major victory against the British Home Office, at the Royal Court of Justice, Queens Court 1, London.
Counsel to the Home Office wanted Ibori to remain in detention after he had served his jail term.
But the Crown Prosecution lawyer, Sian Davies, did not object to Ibori’s release and return to Nigeria.