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Ibori’s case resumes in London court, Ribadu, Lamorde may give evidence

By News Express on 08/04/2014

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The collapsed hearing in the case concerning former Delta State governor, James Ibori, resumes at the Southwark Crown Court, London tomorrow.

Court staff, who confirmed this to The Guardian yesterday, said: “It starts on April 9 and will last for three days.” While it is not yet clear what shape the hearing will take, based on how it ended in December when it was last mentioned in court, it may be necessary for the former governor to be asked to come and give evidence in person as this is the last chance for all parties, particularly the prosecution and the judge, to finally get this case right and draw a line under it. The mood of the Crown and the judge at the last appearance suggested that nothing will be spared in terms of evidence to prove the guilt of Ibori and the extent to which he looted the treasury of Delta State.

Although it is not yet clear if the Crown may drag Oando Oil back into the hearing if they feel that will help their case, former Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Chairman, Malam Nuhu Ribadu, and his successor, Ibrahim Lamorde may both give evidence, particularly since Ibori’s team had submitted in October last year that their client may have been set up by the Federal Government of Nigeria with the alleged $15 million cash bribe given to Ribadu.

The case collapsed in early October 2013, after the scheduled three-week hearing at the instance of the Crown Prosecutor, Sasha Wass, after Ibori’s team of Ivan Krolick et al started making submissions to the effect that Ibori may not have been guilty of the money laundering offences for which he is currently serving a 13-year jail term. In one of his submissions then, Krolick had argued that his client didn’t really benefit to the tune of the over £80 million loot which he corruptly acquired during his eight-year reign as governor of the oil-rich state.

After listening to the arguments of Krolick, not only did the prosecution team then see that as a window of opportunity to prove their case and get Ibori in the witness box, the judge, Anthony Pitts, confessed that he couldn’t do a good job without giving thought to seeing all the necessary evidence for the case. Crown prosecutor, Sasha Wass, then told the court that the Crown had always wanted to call evidence, and that if the case should go back to square one, “it will include getting witnesses here from Nigeria.” As a result, she told the judge: “We would ask that these proceedings be brought to a halt and the case be listed to when we get our witnesses here.”     

After open consultation between both the defence team and Crown prosecutors, a new date was then fixed for December 9, for preliminary hearing, after which Wednesday’s date was then fixed.

•Source: The Guardian. Photo shows Ibori.

Source News Express

Posted 08/04/2014 1:44:19 PM


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