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Ibori bags 13-year sentence

Judge says ex-governor is to forfeit property owned by him in the UK
A protester celebrates Mr. Ibori's conviction at the Southwark Crown Court. 17 April, 2012.
Photo by Nicholas Ibekwe

A Southwark Crown Court in London has sentenced James Ibori, former governor of Delta state to thirtheen years in prison on 10 counts of criminal charges bothering on fraud and money laundering.

At the resumption of the sentencing on Tuesday, there were several Nigerians inside the courtroom showing their support for the former Delta State governor, amongst whom was former footballer and member of the Nigerian Football Federation, John Fashanu.

At 11:05am the court resumed sitting, with the court clerk requesting everyone within to switch off all mobile devices. Not long afterwards, James Ibori was brought into the courtroom by the bailiff.

Ibori's counsel, Nicholas Pernell started by telling the court that Ibori was not to be blamed for the V-mobile telecommunications scam, but all the blame should be laid at the feet of Gohil, his former lawyer and the former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Victor Attah.

The lawyer went ahead to declare that Ibori was responsible for supporting British industry even before he became governor.

Pernell told the court that Ibori was responsible for all the development in Nigeria, including the banking reforms and construction of low-cost housing and ensuring the shaky peace that currently exists in the Niger Delta today.

However, Ibori's countenance made him appear unimpressed with his lawyer as his gaze was constantly shifty and a scowl repeatedly surfaced on his face.

To support his assertions of Ibori's meek nature, Pernell called upon Fashanu to tell the court of this good side of Ibori, seldom seen and reported. Fashanu proceeded to inform the court that Ibori built the first shooting range in the country. He also added that he built 12 stadia across Delta state during his time as governor, thereby helping the careers of Nigerian soccer players such as Austin 'Jay Jay' Okocha and current Nigerian coach, Stephen Keshi, who had long hung his playing boots before Ibori became governor.

At 12:30pm, the Judge had heard enough from the defence team and called for a two-hour recess. 

On resumption, the judge pointed out that the 13-year sentence was not the end of the trial as the British legal system was also going to confiscate the property owned by James Ibori in the UK.

It will be recalled that the prosecution, on Monday, shockingly revealed at the sentencing of James Ibori that there was no plea-bargain but a voluntary confession of crimes committed by the accused.

The prosecutor, in her closing statements, described Ibori as a "common thief" and declared that "the amount of money James Ibori stole is unquantified".  

She went through a list of the crimes committed by Ibori in the UK and Nigeria, dating as far back as 1991. She listed the several bank accounts held by the defendant, including 6 in Barclays, 2 in Citi Bank and several others in the Channel Island, accusing Ibori of listing his 4-month old baby as a director in one of the companies he allegedly used to defraud the oil-rich Delta State.

The lead prosecutor also accused Ibori of colluding with another former governor, Victor Attah of Akwa Ibom State, to form a phantom company called ADF which they used in siphoning over US$37 million from Akwa-Ibom and Delta State's shares in V-Mobile Telecommunications.

Counsel for the defendant, Nicholas Pernell, agreed with the submission of the prosecution that indeed the amount siphoned in the V-mobile and Bombardaire scams amounted to over $50million, but pointed out that the Nigerian Military was responsible for creating conditions that encouraged Ibori to perpetuate the corruption crimes he was accused of. 

Ibori will serve his sentence in a UK prison.


Comments

Nigeria has no law and indeed we do not need lawyers in this country.

thanks to the uk judiciary. it is a shame that nigeria judiciary also is corrupt.the man that has no case to answer(by nigeria judiciary)is now in prison.when can we be serious?

This is a lesson from all of us should learn especially those who might not have occupied any such exalted position as former Governor Ibori but are found wanting in the management of what has been entrusted to their care by GOD and for which they are expected to be faithful but rather they have all along regarded such as their own personal property. A day to render account will eventually come ! Beware !!!

What about Obong Victor Attah, former governor of Akwa Ibom State. Britain please arrest him otherwise he will be given another chieftaincy title soon for stealing and not being jailed as his friend. It will be considered as a mark of being a strong man

This is what l just said to a friend on face book that my GOD will deal with them one after the other.l am so glad to hear that Mr James ibori has been sentenced 13 years imprisonment but l think is too small to compare to the level of his crime.This is money they can use to develop our country,they turn Nigeria resource to be a family property.thank GOD the UK didn't free him.peter from Bangkok

half bread is better than non my friend.

It is a moral outrage that these bonehead politicians continue to bilk the country of these kinds of staggering sums of money,and they are doing it with impunity. What a lane defense that it was the military that aided & abated him. 50 million USD do not even scratch the surface of the atrocities these guys are perpetrating on the rest of us. That's just the proceeds of two alleged deals: V-mobile & Bombardier. This bum has been on seat for eight solid years, and only Allah knows the aggregate of the damage he inflicted on the coffers of Delta State & her people. He should even be charged for crime against humanity. Lives have been senselessly lost due to deprivation. Citizens of Delta State have suffered under crushing weight of poverty because of the excesses of this individual. Part of his sentence should & must include a public apology to the people of both Delta State and Nigeria for the evil treatment he visited upon them over the years. He, like most other evil governors, past & present, betrayed the public trust conferred on them, either through willful & legitimate vote or by snatching & stuffing the ballot boxes by their paid thugs. Shame on our law enforcement apparatuses and our shambled judicial system for woefully failing to prosecute and convict this devil for the "Common Thief" he is. But our "Masters" in the UK are watching and would no longer provide any more safe haven for these thieves to pile up their ill-gotten stashes. Kudos I say to them! It's one down and many more to go. Obassanjo, Babangida, Orji Kalu, Tinubu, Odilli, Ohakim, T.A. Orji, Nnamani, Mbadinuju, Victor Attah, Dariye, and the rest of you,should be getting ready for your own judgement days. It will come!

Shame on Nigeria judicial institution that cleared him of any wrong doing. I personally feel Nigeria should be leased out like Hong Kong at least the infrastructures can be put right. All we have as leaders are thieves like Ibori in power a man described as a 'common thief' by the prosecuting barrister...I say he is a murderer stealing all the money meant for ordinary citizens of Bayelsa leaving womwn dying whilst giving birth, children dying of curable diseases, pensioners dropping dead on queues and female undergraduates prostituting their bodies. Nigeria is indeed a failed nation. You should be ashamed of yourself John Fashanu for defending the indefencible...a scum bag like Ibori in British law court.

Nigerai judiciary should learn from this.

till will tell for Attah
sorry case for the nigerians that gave support for ibori
Nigeria will Never fall
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Well God has his ways of doing things. HE will catch up with them. Http://povertybreakthrough.blogspot.com. God will judge.

Well God has his ways of doing things. HE will catch up with them. Http://povertybreakthrough.blogspot.com. God will judge.

At least it appears that justice was served.on the other hand, I hope some of these monies confiscated would be returned to nigeria or at the very least help offset some of our foreign debt!! Shame on you Ibori, as well as John fashanu you seem to be on Ibori's d**k. Your attitude john, is highly despicable. You're supposed to have some dignity for someone that's had this much exposure.

Where are his principal officers who aided these thefts. what role did the SSG at the time of theft play? All his collaborators in Nigeria must face the wrath of the law. I urge all activists in Nigeria to join forces to ensure everybody connected with this national disgrace is given the max. punishment possible.

Ibori an ex-convict become the most powerful governor under Obasanjo and the main sponsor of Yaraduas' selection in2007. Little wonder we have become a laughing stock in the community of nations. Our courts in Nigeria firtly cleared him to stand for election, give him victory at the tribunals and cleaned him of EFCC charges. In a serious country like China all these so called judges would have by known known their destinies , the hard way

Ibori an ex-convict become the most powerful governor under Obasanjo and the main sponsor of Yaraduas' selection in2007. Little wonder we have become a laughing stock in the community of nations. Our courts in Nigeria firtly cleared him to stand for election, give him victory at the tribunals and cleaned him of EFCC charges. In a serious country like China all these so called judges would have by known known their destinies , the hard way

How come ex Gov. Victor Attah hasn't been charged or warrant for his arrest issued considering the number of times his name has been associated with the shares' scam?

thanx to the british gov for a fair trial