Confiscation Trial Of James Ibori Begins In UK

james-iboriThe confiscation trial of  former Governor of Delta State, James Onanefe Ibori, has commenced in the UK on Friday.

He is appearing at Southwark Crown Court, before Justice David Tomlinson.

If found guilty, he might have to forfeit his asset estimated to be about 250 million pounds.

Ibori, who was released from Bedford Prison in the UK, on December 21, 2016, after being jailed since 2012, is facing another charge bordering on the confiscation of his assets.

The judge, Mrs Juliet May, had ordered his immediate release; a judgement Ibori’s spokesman described as a major victory against the British Home Office, at the Royal Court of Justice, Queens Court 1, London.

Counsels to the Home Office, however wanted him to remain in detention after he had served his jail term.

57 year old Ibori, was jailed for using UK financial institutions to launder hundreds of millions of pound sterling he took from public funds in Delta state.

He pleaded guilty to 10 charges of fraud and money-laundering in February 2012 and is the most prominent Nigerian politician to be successfully prosecuted for corruption.

More details shortly on the proceedings in Southwark Crown Court London.

James Ibori Likely To Appeal UK Conviction

James Ibori, UKLawyers to the former Governor of Delta State, Mr James Ibori, say he is likely to appeal against his conviction in the UK on grounds that the British Police and lawyers involved in his case were corrupt.

Mr Ibori’s lawyer, Ivan Krolick, told the Southwark Crown Court that the former governor was “95 percent certain” in challenging his conviction in the Court of Appeal, based on documents that have only recently been disclosed to the defence by the prosecution.

He added that the documents showed that there had been widespread police corruption followed by a cover-up that is ongoing.

The main allegation was that a police officer involved in the Ibori probe took payments for information in 2007, from a firm of private detectives working on Ibori’s behalf.

The police, however, debunked the claims, saying that the allegation was thoroughly investigated.

They maintained that no one was arrested or charged and no misconduct was identified.

Ibori, who was Governor of Delta State from 1999 to 2007, is serving a 13-year sentence in a British jail after pleading guilty in 2012 to 10 counts of fraud and money-laundering.

His conviction in Britain was seen as a high point in efforts to fight corruption in Nigeria.

At a hearing in a London court, Ibori’s lawyers had alleged serious misconduct by Britain’s prosecuting authorities.

The allegations included failure on the part of the prosecution team to properly disclose information to the defence in relation to alleged corruption by a British police officer involved in the investigation, thereby misleading the court with false statements.

In response to the allegation, Britain’s state prosecution agency said that the conviction remained valid, in spite of evidence that a British police officer took bribes during the investigation of his case.

UK Says Ibori’s Conviction Stands Despite Bribery Evidence

Delta State, Bribery evidence, James Ibori, IboriBritain’s state prosecution agency has said that the conviction of former Delta State Governor, James Ibori, remains valid in spite of evidence that a British police officer took bribes during the investigation of his case.

Lawyers representing the jailed former governor had alleged serious misconduct by Britain’s prosecuting authorities.

The allegations include that the prosecution team failed to properly disclose information to the defence in relation to alleged corruption by a British police officer involved in the investigation, and that it made misleading statements in court.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said on Thursday that while the information “should have been disclosed to the defence”, that did not call into question the validity of the convictions of Ibori and others.

This is sequel to an internal review of the case which lasted months, after it (CPS) said in May that it had found “material to support the assertion that a police officer received payment in return for information”.

One of Ibori’s associates, who has been convicted of money-laundering, Bhadresh Gohil, had also alleged that the judicial process was tainted because prosecutors had covered up evidence of police corruption.

Ibori’s lawyer, Jonathan Kinnear, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the agency’s latest position. Gohil’s lawyer, however, said that he could not comment for legal reasons.

Ibori was governor of oil-producing Delta State from 1999 to 2007 and is serving a 13-year sentence in a British prison after pleading guilty in 2012 to 10 counts of fraud and money-laundering.

He is the most senior Nigerian politician to have been held to account for the corruption.

His conviction in Britain was seen as a high point in efforts to fight corruption in Nigeria.

James Ibori Alleges Misconduct By British Prosecutors

Ibori-goes-to-jailLawyers representing a jailed former Governor of Delta State in southern Nigeria, James Ibori, have alleged serious misconduct by Britain’s prosecuting authorities.

The lawyers made the claim at a hearing in a London court on Monday.

The allegations include that the prosecution team failed to properly disclose information to the defence in relation to alleged corruption by a British police officer involved in the investigation, and that it made misleading statements in court.

Ibori, who was Governor of Delta State from 1999 to 2007, is serving a 13-year sentence in a British jail after pleading guilty in 2012 to 10 counts of fraud and money-laundering.

His conviction in Britain was seen as a high point in efforts to fight corruption in Nigeria.

However, Ibori’s conviction on at least one count is now being called into question by his defence team, Judge David Tomlinson told Southwark Crown Court.

Prosecution lawyer Jonathan Kinnear, who took over the case earlier this year after the previous team stood down, said the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) was conducting a review into whether Ibori’s convictions were sound and expected to conclude it in August.

If the allegations of prosecutorial misconduct were confirmed and one or more of Ibori’s convictions were quashed, it would be a major embarrassment for Britain at a time when it is trying to make a big push in the fight against corruption, Reuters news agency reports.

British Prime Minister, David Cameron, hosted a global anti-corruption summit in London last month in which Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, took part. Days earlier, Cameron was caught on camera calling Nigeria “fantastically corrupt”.

Ibori’s defence team have applied for Judge Tomlinson to permanently halt court proceedings on the confiscation of Ibori’s assets, which have been dragging on for years.

But the judge, having read the defence lawyers’ formal application for a stay, said that it amounted to a challenge on Ibori’s convictions, a matter that should probably be dealt with by the Court of Appeal, a higher court.

“I am being invited to trespass into matters which are beyond my jurisdiction,” he said.

Kinnear told the court the issue of how and when the defence team had disclosed information “in relation to allegations of corruption” to Ibori’s lawyers was being reviewed by the CPS.

The CPS had previously said that initial results of its disclosure review “have found that material exists to support the assertion that a police officer received payment in return for disclosing information about the investigation”.

No ruling was made at the Monday court hearing. Judge Tomlinson adjourned the case until Wednesday.

Ibori Claimed 30 Per Cent Shares In Oando, British Prosecutor Tells Court

Jailed former governor of Delta state, James Ibori told a Swiss private bank in 2004 that he owned 30 percent of oil firm Oando, which paid $1.2 million into his account that year, a prosecutor told a British court on Tuesday.

Prosecutor Sasha Wass told Southwark Crown Court on Tuesday that in 2004, Ibori had opened an account at Lugano-based PKB in the name of a shell company called Stanhope Investments.

Quoting from internal PKB documents, Wass told the court that Ibori had presented himself to the bank as the owner of an insurance company, half of a bank and 30 percent of Oando.

Oando said on Monday that Ibori had only an “insignificant” holding in the firm.

Reuters reported that details of Ibori’s assets and how he kept them hidden from the public gaze through a web of shell companies and foreign bank accounts are being disclosed as part of a three-week confiscation hearing which began in London on Monday.

Ibori was jailed for 13 years in Britain after pleading guilty in February 2012 to 10 counts of fraud and money-laundering worth 50 million pounds.

 

Ibori returns to court tomorrow

Former Delta State Governor, James Ibori, who is serving a jail term in London will on Monday return to the Southwark Crown Court for the confiscation of assets.

Both the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and Mr Ibori’s defence team will finalise arrangements to confiscate the £50 million assets for which he received a 13-year jail term at the same court in April.

The former governor had earlier requested to be present in court in May when the confiscation hearing was listed for mention, but the Judge, who jailed him, declined, saying it wasn’t necessary.

Two sources at the Crown Court confirmed that Mr Ibori would be present for the hearing. “It’s in Court 5, at 10am and he’ll be coming,” one of the sources said, when asked if Ibori would be there with his legal team.

Asked in which prison the convicted governor would be coming from, another court staff said she had no idea, but that Mr Ibori was presently not at Wandsworth Prison, where he spent the early days of his conviction.

“I don’t really know where he is, as the system has not been updated,” she responded.

And on who would be on Mr Ibori’s defence team when State prosecutors make their case to strip him of his ill-gotten wealth on Monday, another court staff said, “we don’t know who’s representing him, but the prosecutor is the CPS.”