9 Facts about James Ibori as he leaves UK prison | Nigeria News Today. Your online Nigerian Newspaper

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Former governor of Delta State, Chief James Onanefe Ibori on Wednesday, December 21, 2016 was released from prison just as the Federal government of Nigeria moves to extradite him back to the country.


Here are nine facts that characterised the former Governor to the United Kingdom prison and the eventual release after serving jail term:

1. The Journey to UK Prison

James Ibori's troubles started when some of his kinsmen filed allegations of fraud against him to the then Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), chairman, Nuhu Ribadu.

However, Nuhu Ribadu failed to act, which led to an uproar. In 2007, acting on many reports received, the Metropolitan Police raided the London offices of a lawyer named Bhadresh Gohil.

They found computer hard drives containing details of a myriad off-shore companies, run for Ibori by Gohil, fiduciary agent Daniel Benedict McCann, and corporate financier Lambertus De Boer.

The three men were jailed for 30 years. But Ibori denied any involvement and accused, Nuhu Ribadu and the UK courts of politically motivated witch-hunting.

2. James Ibori and the UK Authorities

Persistence by the UK authorities, in August 2007, Ibori's assets to the tune of about $35 million were frozen and his wife, Nkoyo Ibori was arrested in November 2007 and questioned in London. She was later released.

The London police kept his assets frozen because he could not explain how on a salary of less than $25,000 as governor, he had $35 million in his account.

3. Discharged and acquitted Ibori of all the 170 charges of corruption by Nigerian court

On December 12, 2007, he was arrested by the EFCC at the Kwara state lodge in Asokoro, Abuja. The commission brought the following charges of theft of public funds, abuse of office, and money laundering against him.

Nuhu Ribadu alleged that Ibori had tried to bribe him with a cash gift of $15 million, which Ribadu immediately lodged in the Central Bank of Nigeria CBN. Reports have it that the money remains in the CBN as an exhibit.

However, in December 2009, a federal high court sitting in Asaba, Delta state, discharged and acquitted Ibori of all the 170 charges of corruption brought against him by EFCC.

4. Ibori Used Delta As Collateral For N40 billion Loan, Goes On Exile

In 2010, his sins came after him and Ibori ran. Three months after Goodluck Jonathan became president, Ibori was accused of embezzling N40 billion, the governor of CBN later said that he had used Delta state as collateral for N40 billion loan.

Attempts to arrest him were unsuccessful. He reportedly fled from Abuja to Lagos and then to the creeks of Oghara, his homeland in the Niger Delta.

There were rumours that he was guarded by militants who shot at government security forces. He denied these charges.

In April 2010, he fled Nigeria, prompting the EFCC to request the assistance of Interpol.

5. Interpol Picked Him Up

An international arrest warrant was issued by the United Kingdom and enforced by Interpol and eventually Ibori was arrested on May 13, 2010 in Dubai.

He was granted bail, but as the United Kingdom were seeking his extradition, the United Arab Emirates kept his movements restricted.

He fought the extradition and fought for political asylum in Dubai. However this was not granted and he was eventually extradited to the UK in 2012.

6. Family and friends in Court for Money Laundering

In June 2010, UK juries found his sister, Christine Ibie-Ibori and his associate, Udoamaka Okoronkwo, guilty on counts of money laundering.

Despite Ibori releasing a statement absolving the women, Ms Okoronkwo and Adebimpe Pogoson who were charged alongside his sister. Christine Ibie-Ibori and Udoamaka Okoronkwo were each sentenced to 5 years in prison on Monday, June 7, 2010.

7. Eventual sentencing

On Tuesday, April 17, 2012, after 5 years of running, James Ibori was sentenced to 13 years by Southwark Crown Court for his crimes. His houses, luxury cars and other properties were confiscated.

The judge ruled that he was expected to spend half of the jail term which is six and half years. Also, the 645 days he had spent in detention facilities both in Dubai and UK were deducted from the sentence.

8. His House Arrest Freedom
On Wednesday, December 21, 2016, Chief James Onanefe Ibori was released from prison to a house arrest pending all other issues in the United Kingdom.

9. FG Begins Extradition to Nigeria

President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government has begun the process of extraditing former Governor of Delta State, James Ibori, who was released from jail in the United Kingdom two days ago. According to The Punch, the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, has told the EFCC to make Ibori’s 170 charges file available.

Spokesman for the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren in a text message said: “His (Ibori’s) fate will be determined by the provisions of the law.”

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