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James Ibori to be Sentenced for Money Laundering in London on Tuesday – Counsel Pleads for Leniency at the Final Hearing

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After a trial comes the judgement. For James Ibori, former governor of Delta state, his judgement on the charges of corruption and money laundering is less than 24hours away.

Today, at the Southwark Crown Court 9, London, a large crowd of Ibori’s supporters and journalists gathered outstide to witness the sentencing hearing of the former governor. There were reports of scuffles as The Metropolitan Police and court officials attempted to control the crowd of people who wanted to gain access into the court.

Court officials had attempted to sort out unruly persons among the crowd of Ibori’s supporters by asking all visitors to form a queue and write their names. But this led to more confusion as people struggled to get their names on a list. Uniformed policemen had to be invited to forcibly remove unruly visitors from the court. The police allowed only 16 members of Ibori’s family and journalists to enter the court.

Allowed entry into the court were some of Ibori’s supporters who include: John Nani, Prince Abuteh, Odebala, Emeyele, Igbuya, Faith Majemite, Tebite, Emmanuel Uduaghan (not the Delta State governor) among others. Popular Itsekiri militant, Imani Ayiri was also in court.

The hearing began at about 11:19am after James Ibori was brought in and the Judge came in to the court.

Ibori was brought into court at 11:15am wearing a grey suit, black tie and vest and was docked in a glass-covered cubicle. Ibori beaming with confidence sat on one of the 3 seats in the cubicle with his hair almost turning grey.

The lawyers for the prosecution and the defence presented their closing arguments before the court.

The Prosecutor, Sasha Weils, told the London Court that Ibori “systematically and deliberately defrauded his people during his tenure as governor of the oil-rich Delta State.” After going through a reading of all the crimes Ibori has committed since 1991, both in Nigeria and in the UK, she remarked that “the amount James Ibori stole is unquantified” and “he is a common thief.”

The Prosecutor listed Ibori’s bank accounts as “6 in Barclay’s, 2 in Citi Bank and several in the Channel Islands”. She also added that “Ibori had made his 4-month old son a director in one of his companies, a company used as a conduit to launder stolen money”.

The prosecution, also said he violated Section 182 and Section 181 (1) of the Nigerian constitution when he contested the governorship election less than 10years after he was jailed in the United Kingdom. Ibori was jailed in 1991 and 1992 in London.

The Judge described Ibori’s several frauds as “sensational” and called for a recess soon after.

When the court reconvened by 2pm, his defence counsel, Nicholas Pernell prayed for a lenient sentence, blaming the Nigerian military for creating the conditions that lured Ibori into corruption.

In an attempt to secure a lenient sentencing for Ibori, his has lawyer just told the Crown Court that he was instrumental in securing the release of hostages in the Niger-Delta.

Judge Anthony Pitts however told Ibori’s Counsel that he has not been called upon to make a judgment of Ibori’s achievements as governor as argued by his counsel but to make a judgment on the charges of corruption against him.

James Ibori had earlier pleaded guilty to a number of corruption and money laundering charges against him put at about $250million before Judge Pitts. This includes the V-Mobile and Bombardaire scams which amounted to $50million. Ibori and Victor Attah, former Akwa Ibom state governor also formed a phantom company called ADF to siphon US$37.5million from Delta and Akwa Ibom states’ shares in V-Mobile.

He faces up to 10 years in a UK prison.

The case has been adjourned to tomorrow, Tuesday 17th April 2012 for the actual sentencing.

News Source: Punch News | Daily Times | Vanguard News

Adeola Adeyemo is a graduate of Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from University of Lagos. However, her passion is writing and she worked as a reporter with NEXT Newspaper. She believes that anything can be written about; anything can be a story depending on the angle it is seen from and the writer's imagination. When she is not writing news or feature articles, she slips into her fantasies and creates interesting fiction pieces. She blogs at www.deolascope.blogspot.com

35 Comments

  1. Linda

    April 16, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    hmmmmmmm, the law finally catching up with ODIDI-GBOIGBO himself

  2. Noms

    April 16, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    Absolute silence…

  3. Naz

    April 16, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    wat Leniency ? wat he Lenient in his money laundering activities?
    please he should be sentenced accordingly jo!

  4. Mama D

    April 16, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    *excuse my anger* E no go better for leniency… he had none for others whilst stealing money when a lot of people are suffering. As much as i believe in forgiveness, i say he should get what he deserves and if he so chooses to repent then, May God who is d forgiver of all of us forgive him.. BUT he gasto pay in full for this wicked wicked crime. THIEF!!

    • e-bukun

      April 17, 2012 at 12:23 am

      #death….hahaha this comment kills. lol

  5. faith

    April 16, 2012 at 7:08 pm

    how i wish dis can also happen in nigeria….let him rot in jail.wicked man.imagine d amount of money he stole…its a shame dat nigeria govt can jail currupt govt official…uk has to do it for us…smh.

  6. mma

    April 16, 2012 at 7:38 pm

    Finally and thanks you judge for telling that his daft lawyer off its a money laundry case not a score card for his performance as a governor I hope he vows to jail for a long time with no possibility of parole

  7. Sam

    April 16, 2012 at 7:47 pm

    Ibori, judgement has come finally for you abi? Are you gonna enjoy all the money now?
    http://officialtop10.com/

  8. jennietobbie

    April 16, 2012 at 7:55 pm

    No one is above the law

  9. yay

    April 16, 2012 at 7:58 pm

    yaaay first to comment!

    • BubblyBliss

      April 17, 2012 at 8:28 pm

      Really?!

  10. Say

    April 16, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    See person life nau…

  11. tamara

    April 16, 2012 at 9:10 pm

    leniency? after all the money he embezzled, money that could be utilized to develop the state!!! nah man he dnt deserve no damnn leniency

  12. Kikky

    April 16, 2012 at 9:20 pm

    he’s obviously gonna get a really long sentence. they should be sure to throw the key to the cell away. its just a pity that he’s the only one out of many to be caught.

  13. christy

    April 16, 2012 at 9:48 pm

    Abeg make dem free ds man jor,is he d most corrupt?

    • Miss T

      April 17, 2012 at 2:23 am

      But he is one of them so what is your point?

    • Sansarai

      April 17, 2012 at 3:08 am

      Till today I cannot grasp this kind of logic. They have caught and are about to sentence one of the biggest thieves Nigeria has ever seen and instead of rejoicing that justice has finally caught up with him, you’re here spouting rubbish! So they should let him walk free because he is not “the most corrupt”..? So if a rapist is caught in the act of raping a teenager and sentenced to prison, your argument would be that he should go free because…afterall, there are people out there who have raped toddlers? Do you hear yourself at all? Oloshi oloriburuku! I pity my generation…

    • ij

      April 17, 2012 at 10:37 am

      This is the type of comment that will not move us forward , so because he is not the worst the UK government should fly him business class back to Nigeria, complete with a written apology for all the inconvenience . You make me sick

  14. rex ogbakpa

    April 16, 2012 at 10:36 pm

    It’s quite unfortunate that things have fallen apart 4 the former guv of Delta state.He is a man of goodwill and his goodwill will definitely speak 4 him anytime anyday.

    • mimi

      April 17, 2012 at 10:49 am

      Erm…like seriously? I think they should arrest you as an accomplice! So you benefited from the stolen money ekwa?

    • taiwo

      April 17, 2012 at 12:19 pm

      Rex Ogbakpa is a FOOL !

    • Mulan

      April 18, 2012 at 2:30 pm

      Oloshi, na God go Punish u…..i Beg u, follow in his footstep and worse shall happen to u.

  15. lps

    April 16, 2012 at 10:58 pm

    I need to find the address of the court.
    http://personalstuvs.blogspot.com

  16. ISOSO

    April 16, 2012 at 11:58 pm

    Words i can draw meaning from… His crimes were SENSATIONAL… unquantified” and “ common thief.” Counsel has not been called upon to make a judgment of Ibori’s achievements as governor but to make a judgment on the charges of corruption against him…The judge has indicated signs….

  17. prince sazzy wazzy

    April 17, 2012 at 1:15 am

    They are worse people in Nigeria, James is just a victim to d corrupt government of Nigeria… What happens to all d funds d so called british government say he stole, will it ever be returned to Nigeria? They re more problems to be solved, I do not justify his actions, but let d truth b told….

  18. john

    April 17, 2012 at 1:26 am

    rot in jail IBORI JAMES…..

  19. BP

    April 17, 2012 at 2:07 am

  20. Michael agbada

    April 17, 2012 at 6:32 am

    This is a big lesson to our leaders if we have any.

  21. Abur Yar

    April 17, 2012 at 8:21 am

    The falling down of yellow leaves is a warning to green leaves

  22. pynk

    April 17, 2012 at 9:14 am

    Everyday for the thief, one day for the owner.

  23. fly moi

    April 17, 2012 at 10:25 am

    i cosign with prince sazzy wazzy…i fink he stepped on toes and he is being dealt with, cos dere are govs and other govt officials dat has done worse dan him dat are not being punished…still on d matter, hope the loot wld be used to help d less privileged in Nigeria and not used to enrich d british govt. My 2cents..

  24. Jay

    April 17, 2012 at 10:53 am

    Prince sazzy, u have spoken well… it is sad but hey, someone has to pay… where is Alams? where is Odili? and d list goes on…..putting him in jail for 10years will not stop corruption neither will it provide basic amenities for this country… Money recovered from corrupt leaders are never heard of….. These are political propanganda…. d govt. strategically got what they are looking for which is turning the people against him. Same govt. will not think twice to remove fuel subsidy or tackle the security issues in our country….Lord have mercy!

  25. Mee

    April 17, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    “When the court reconvened by 2pm, his defence counsel, Nicholas Pernell prayed for a lenient sentence, blaming the Nigerian military for creating the conditions that lured Ibori into corruption.”
    EXCUSE ME! Didnt all of us and our parents live under the very same military regime? Did they all become armed robbers like you???!!!!
    LoooooooonG Hiss!

  26. Linda

    April 17, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    YAY…1ST PERSON TO COMMENT..

  27. Vivian emobena

    April 18, 2012 at 11:36 am

    It’s quite a pity that someone culd actually steal this large amount of money and watch the people suffer. He deserves to pay for it.

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