An ex-convict and former governor of Delta state, James Ibori, who was sentenced to prison after pleading guilty to money laundering in Britain, yesterday began an appeal against his conviction.
Reports stated Mr Ibori alleged corruption in the ranks of the British police.
According to reports monitored on firstweeklymagazine.com, Ibori’s lawyers said one of the British police officers who investigated him took bribes in 2007 from a private detective, hired by a law firm working for Ibori, in return for inside information about the police investigation.
They also alleged that British anti-corruption police who were supposed to investigate the alleged bribery instead covered it up to avoid weakening Ibori’s trial and tarnishing the reputation of the police.
The appeal hearing currently being held before three judges at London’s Court of Appeal is due to last three days.
Ibori was due to give evidence on Wednesday via video-link from Nigeria, and he appeared briefly on a screen in court, but the connection was lost and could not be restored. The court was told a power cut in Nigeria was the reason for the glitch.
The judges instructed that a new attempt be made to establish a video-link to Ibori on Thursday.
It is reported that about $130 million of Ibori’s assets are at stake, which have been frozen for years.
Recall that Mr. Ibori had on February 27, 2012, pleaded guilty in a London court to 10 counts of money laundering and conspiracy to defraud. Before Judge Anthony Pitts, Mr. Ibori admitted stealing $250million as alleged by the prosecution.
The Metropolitan Police accused Mr. Ibori of spending some of the stolen money buying six houses in London – paying £2.2m in cash for one Hampstead mansion – and putting his children in expensive British private schools.
After he pleaded guilty, Crown Prosecution Service lawyer, Sasha Wass, made a short submission, saying the prosecution was discontinuing Mr. Ibori’s trial because the former governor had “accepted the entirety of the prosecution’s case as it has always been set out.”
Mr. Ibori was later sentenced to 13 years in UK prison. He was however released and deported to Nigeria in February 2017.