The Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, CACOL, has called for fresh trial of former Governor of Delta State, Chief James Ononefe Ibori, by the Federal Government as soon as he returns to Nigeria after serving out his jail term in the United Kingdom. It would be recalled that Ibori was charged with 171-count charges, including that of attempt to bribe the former Chairman of EFCC with $15million which he was not made to plead to before he was discharged by Justice Marcel Awokhulehin at the Asaba Division of the Federal High Court shortly after he left office as Delta State Governor in 2011. He was later imprisoned for money laundering in the United Kingdom.
Reacting, the Executive Chairman of CACOL, Mr. Debo Adeniran, said, “ Convict James Ibori was accused of several sharp practices during his tenure as the Governor of Delta State several of which are yet to be leveled against him. The prison term he served at the United Kingdom that he is about completing was for different offence he committed against the law over there, which is of different jurisdiction to that of Nigeria. His alleged crimes in Nigeria have to do with looting, stealing, misappropriation, misapplication and illegal transfer of money and other state properties to himself and cronies. These are different from the several money laundering charges he faced in the UK.
Our argument is hinged on the fact that if Ibori didn’t steal in Nigeria where else could he have secured the humongous amount of money he transferred in foreign currency to the UK by himself, his wife, his concubine, his consultants etc? The mere fact that the Central Bank of Nigeria confirmed that the attempted bribe of $15million was with it confirms that James Ibori has a case to answer! It is noteworthy that all of the aforementioned close associates were convicted for money laundering on behalf of their principal. This happened even before Ibori was extradited to the UK from Dubai the United Arab Emirates where he ran to when the long arm of the Nigerian law was catching in on him for fresh charges, even after the former Justice Awokhulehin had discharged (but not acquitted) him for the 171-count charge at the Asaba FHC.
His Uk conviction was for the money laundering offences after Ibori voluntarily pleaded guilty to the crimes after reaching the end of his mischievous wits and the UK legal officers confronted him with the implications on them and him of being stubborn on lies! He therefore must be brought back to Nigeria to face charges on some fresh crimes he has been found to have committed in Nigeria which he is required to be tried for.”
“The Nigerian Government has the right to prosecute any suspected corruption criminal, so, Ibori case cannot be exceptional; a lot of allegations have been raised against him that cannot just be over looked just because he was earlier convicted for offending the laws of the United Kingdom. Nigeria Judiciary is quite different from the UK Judiciary, and the allegations are also different. Convict Ibori should therefore be tried for all the corruption crimes that has been laid against him here in Nigeria as soon has he returns from the UK prison.” said Mr. Adeniran.
“We also call on the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and every other anti-corruption agencies to do their jobs diligently and provide the evidence, witness and proof to all the charges that are to be leveled against Ibori so that he can serve as deterrent to those who consider themselves ‘sacred cows’ that are still in the Government who believed that they can get away with the state resources under their watch and nothing will happen to them.” Adeniran concluded.
Media Assistant, CACOL
December 6, 2016
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