A former governor of Delta State, Chief James Ibori has vowed to fight for justice, as UK prosecutors asked a Southwark Crown Court in London to order the final confiscation of over £100 million (about $129 million) belonging to him.
According to reports, Lead prosecution counsel, Jonathan Kinnear, told Judge David Tomlinson of the court at the hearing on Thursday, that the total amount should be confiscated from Ibori and that if he did not pay up, he should be sentenced to between five and 10 years in prison.
At the hearing, both the prosecution and the defence presented their arguments on how the confiscation figure should be calculated based on the judge’s findings.
Reacting to the proceedings on his Facebook page, the Nigerian politician said his hope was “rapidly fading” for a fair hearing.
“Finally, the shenanigans in the Southwark Crown Court are drawing to a close. Judge Tomlinson is due to make a confiscation order which should be both realisable and not punitive.
“However, after what transpired in court, my hopes are rapidly fading for any degree of fairness.
“In the 2 years it has taken to write this judgment it seems apparent that he has forgotten many of the salient points and is prioritising expediency over justice”, he wrote.
“The next step”, he said, “will be to take my fight for justice to the highest courts in the UK”.
The latest order is coming almost six years after Ibori was released from a UK prison after serving a sentence for money laundering and fraud charges.
The British authorities had indicted the former governor and jailed him for stealing public funds and laundering them through UK banks and properties while the trial on confiscation proceedings against him began in February 2017.
Ibori was extradited in 2011 from Dubai to London where he was charged with laundering a “corruptly acquired fortune”.
In 2012, he pleaded guilty to 10 counts of fraud and money laundering and received a 13-year jail sentence, but was released after serving half of the jail term.
At his release, the UK government pledged to return any money recovered from Ibori to Nigeria and fulfilled part of the promise in 2021 when it returned £4.2 million that had been confiscated from Ibori’s ex-wife and his sister, who also served jail time for helping him launder money.
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