* Compiling records to arraign him in Asaba
- ‘Appeal Court quashed his acquittal on 170-count charge’
Strong indications have emerged that the Federal Government may have concluded plans to arraign the former Delta State Governor James Ibori over his alleged involvement in misappropriation of funds while serving as governor of the state.
Multiple sources also confided in The Daily Times that it has become necessary for the case to be revisited in order to ensure that justice is done on the matter.
One of the sources close to the office of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister for Justice, told our correspondent that Ibori’s conviction in the United Kingdom was a slap in the face of the nation’s anti- Corruption fight.
The source, who spoke in confidence, said ” It was indeed shameful that someone who was declared free of corruption by our laws was convicted in the United Kingdom.
“And to show that we celebrate impunity, Ibori was highly celebrated upon his return to Nigeria after he was released from the UK jail.
Another source who also confided in The Daily Times that, “The federal government want to get it right this time around, hence it has taken so long to re-arraign Ibori.
” The federal government is doing its best; currently, we compiling our records and also assembling our witnesses. We don’t want to be knock- out in court by technicalities that is why we are not in a hurry.
” The country was embarrassed that someone that was discharged and acquitted of corruption by a Federal High Court sitting in Asaba, was pronounced guilty by a court in the UK.
”The development sent out a very bad signal on the nation’s Justice system and now that he is back to the country; the right thing has to be done and that is to arraign him”.
Meanwhile, when the Daily Times contacted the Special Assistant to the President on Prosecution,Mr.Okoi Obono- Obla, for reaction, he said, ” I am not aware but the Court of Appeal has set- aside the judgement of the Federal High Court, Asaba that quashed the charges against him”.
Meanwhile, Ibori has been appointed into the National Convention Planning Committee for the non elective special convention of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, scheduled to hold in Abuja tomorrow.
Ibori , who recently returned to the country after regaining his freedom from the British prison, is No 41 in the main organising committee list.
The convicted ex-governor had ruled Delta State between 1999 and 2007
The Daily Times recalls that the Nuhu Ribadu-led EFCC had arraigned Ibori before Justice Mohammed Shuaib of the Federal High Court in Kaduna who refused to grant him bail on the grounds that the charges against him were weighty and serious.
But the Court of Appeal in Kaduna granted bail to Ibori and further held that he should be tried in the area where he committed the offence.
The development prompted the EFCC to arraign Ibori before a newly Federal High Court in Asaba, Delta State since that was the state where he committed the offence
But Justice Marcel Awokulehin of the Federal High in Asaba had discharged Ibori from all the 170-count charge filed against him by the EFCC on the grounds that the prosecution failed to prove a prima facie case against him.
The trial judge Justice Marcel Awokulehin, also held that the EFCC, in prosecuting the case, did not assembly reasonable evidence to support their charge.
But few years after Ibori was set free in Nigeria, a Southwark Crown Court in UK had sentenced to 13-year jail term against Ibori after he pleaded guilty for fraud related offences to the tune of £50m ($77m).
He admitted to the 10 counts charge of conspiracy to defraud and money laundering.
Southwark Crown Court was told the amount he stole from the people of Delta state was “unquantified”.
Ibori, who evaded arrest in Nigeria after a mob of supporters attacked police, was arrested in Dubai in 2010.
He was extradited to the UK, where he was prosecuted based on evidence from the Metropolitan Police.
One of the counts Ibori admitted related to a $37m (£23m) fraud pertaining to the sale of Delta State’s share in a telecoms firm, V Mobile (now Airtel).
Consequently, a London court had on February 1, 2017, cleared the path for Ibori to return to Nigeria having served out his jail term for graft.
Ibori has since returned back to Nigeria after he was release by the UK court.