UK court to restart $145m Ibori asset-confiscation case

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Hearing in the case of confiscation of 90 million pounds (about 145 million dollars) worth of assets belonging to ex-gov. James Ibori ended inconclusively on Monday in a British court.

The case will now start afresh next year.

James Ibori, governor of the oil-producing state of Delta in southern Nigeria from 1999 to 2007, is serving a 13-year jail sentence in a British jail.

This was after he pleaded guilty in February 2012 to 10 counts of fraud and money-laundering.

Once an influential power-broker at the heart of Nigeria’s ruling PDP, he is by far the most senior politician to be held accountable for the corruption.

The confiscation proceedings against him will determine whether he emerges from jail impoverished or still in possession of a large enough fortune to regain a position of influence in Nigeria.

Ibori will become eligible for early release in March 2016.

In a hearing which began at London’s Southwark Crown Court on Sept. 16, prosecutors were seeking a court order to confiscate a long list of assets.

James Ibori: confiscation case to start afresh
James Ibori: confiscation case to start afresh

They were relying on Ibori’s guilty pleas as proof that his assets worth close to 90 million pounds were the proceeds of corruption during his time in office.

The defence argued that the guilty pleas did not prove that the assets were benefits of Ibori’s crimes.

After three weeks in court, Judge Anthony Pitts said in order to make an informed ruling he needed a better grip on the evidence underlying the case.

He said the hearing should start again from scratch next year, at a date to be determined later.

At the new hearing, which could last months, the prosecution will present evidence it had prepared for Ibori’s trial, which was scheduled to start in February 2012.

The trial then never took place because Ibori entered his guilty pleas on the first morning.

One of the most contentious issues to emerge during the confiscation hearing was an allegation by the prosecution that Ibori may have hidden assets in Oando, Nigeria’s biggest home-grown energy firm.

This had caused Oando’s share price to fall by 20 per cent in two days.

Oando disputed the allegation in statements and via Andrew Baillie, a lawyer representing its interests in court.

Baillie told the judge on Monday that there was “no evidence of any connection between Ibori and Oando Plc’’.

He asked him to make a formal finding to that effect when the case finally concludes, even though Pitts gave no indication of whether he would make any such finding.

The prosecution has however maintained the allegation.



    It is not easy, We hope to learn that your good names are better that riches. Read more on news, Nigeria news, News portal at

    Ibori may come out very poor at the end of the day

  2. moi

    they are going to blow things wide open now when heshould be sitting athome with his family becos of one insult. Blessed are they that are not offended inHim

  3. wale

    This is a hogwash; why try him again for the same offense?
    This will give the British Government an opportunity to seize most of the assets as retribution for his earlier conviction in Uk, before he ran back to Nigeria and became a Governor, and his latest conviction and incarceration legal fees and charges that will run into millions of pounds.
    My take on this one is, thieves are using legal apparatus to steal from a thief. (Ole gbe, Ole gba).
    Whatever is left should not go back to The government of Delta State, because they found him not guilty in their court of law. (nothing is missing).
    He’s in jail today because he stepped on GEJ toes by working with Yar’adua’ s crew against GEJ becoming the President.
    And he was also going against OBJ’s backing for GEJ.

    1. moi

      he is in jail for pleadig guilty to something he didn not do as the evidence showed in latest confiscation case. Never say anything that you cant take back

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