Seems like former Delta State Governor, James Ibori’s freedom from British Prison, may be cut short as new report reveal that the federal government of Nigeria is set to extradite him to face another trial.
Delta State Speaker of the House of Assembly, Monday Igbuya with James Ibori soon after his release in London
The President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government has commenced the process of extraditing a former governor of Delta State, Chief James Ibori, from the United Kingdom, The Punch authoritatively reports.
The Southwark Crown Court had, on April 17, 2012, sentenced Ibori to 13 years in prison after the ex-governor pleaded guilty to 10 counts of money laundering and stealing $250m from the Delta State treasury.
He was, however, released on Wednesday where he had spent four years and eight months following a court order that declined the UK government’s request for an extension of his sentence.
A London court ruled that the Home Office had no more powers to hold the ex-governor, who had served six-and-a-half-years of his 13-year jail term.
He had earlier spent 645 days in detention facilities in Dubai and the UK which were deducted from his total jail term.
The UK Home Office had opposed Ibori’s release on the grounds that the process of the permanent forfeiture of his assets had yet to be completed.
According to the BBC, the UK Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, did not intend to deport Ibori to Nigeria until he handed over £18m of the “proceeds of crime” he alleged the ex-governor held.
The convicted former governor, was, however, allowed to go home on the condition that he would not travel out of the UK.
He is currently residing at his residence on Abbey Road, London, where he is under strict surveillance from where he will report to the UK Police weekly.
Impeccable sources within the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission disclosed on Wednesday that the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), had directed the EFCC to forward the file containing the 170 charges earlier brought against Ibori in Nigeria.
The EFCC operative told one of Punch’s correspondents that the Federal Government would liaise with the British government to ensure that Ibori was extradited to Nigeria.
A source in the EFCC said,
We have started the process of extradition in conjunction with the Office of the AGF. We had started extradition process years ago but stopped it since he was in prison.
We have now reactivated the process. It is the AGF that will communicate with the British Government, which will then extradite Ibori to Nigeria. The court process will be sent to the UK Government for extradition.
When asked why all Ibori’s London properties had not yet been forfeited to the Federal Government despite the ample time, the EFCC source explained that the British system was such that asset recovery was done post-conviction.
So, they are just starting the process and that is why he has been asked not to leave the UK but should be reporting every week.
The British Government wanted him to remain in custody but the court said he could keep coming from home; so, he will remain in the UK for now. If he does not show up in the police station, then it will be assumed that he has absconded.
Speaking with a correspondent on Thursday, the spokesman for the British High Commission in Nigeria, Joe Abuku, said the UK government would continue to assist Nigeria with the recovery of properties, adding that he could not comment on the legal proceedings against Ibori.
Spokesman for the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, said,
His (Ibori’s) fate will be determined by the provisions of the law.