16 April 2012

Nigeria: Ibori Systematically Defrauded Delta, Violated Constitution, Prosecutor Tells Court

Photo: Vanguard
James Ibori.

London — Queens Counsel and prosecutor in the trial of former Delta State governor, Chief James Ibori, QC Sasha Weils, has told the London Court that Ibori "systematically and deliberately" defrauded his people during his tenure as governor of the oil-rich Delta State.

During the closing of the prosecution case in Soulthwark Crown Court, Monday, Weils said Ibori committed too many frauds totalling £50 million to maintain his lavish lifestyle.

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.

Also, the prosecutor said Ibori violated the Nigerian constitution Section 182 and Section 181(1) when he contested the governorship election less than 10years after he was jailed in the United Kingdom. She told the court Ibori was jailed in 1991 and 1992 in London.

Allowed entry into the court are 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 court however went on a recess to reconvene by 2:00pm.

The prosecution, is expected to close its case today, while the defense is to make allocutus tomorrow before the judge will pass the sentence.

Ibori's trial was originally scheduled to commence in London's Southwark Crown Court on February 27 only for him to plead guilty to 10 charges of fraud and money laundering.

Though, it is said that Ibori opted for a plea bargain in the hope of receiving a lighter sentence, Vanguard investigations revealed that the prosecution, in closing its case, will push for a maximum sentence which could be a life jail term for the former governor.

The defense team, not wanting to prolong the case, is praying for a light sentence after Ibori pleaded guilty to fraud and money laundering charges as the corruption charges were subsequently dropped.

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