Ibori may be rearrested at airport on return from British prisons by EFCC
Whereas over 20 hectres of land in Oghara, Delta State had been cleared and other welcome party arrangements are ongoing ahead of December 20, return from British prison, indications have emerged that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is set to re-arrest and prosecute the former Governor of Delta State, Mr. James Ibori.
It would be recalled that the ex-convicts attempted trial by the federal government under former President Goodluck Jonathan was struck out by an Asaba High Court on grounds of poor diligent arraignment few months before he went to Dubai where he was arrested and extradited to Britain for the trail that led to his prison sentence. Ibori pleaded guilty as charged in London Court which lead to his sentencing.
The EFCC took the matter to the Appeal Court where a three-man panel of justices on May 15, 2014, at the Benin Division of the Court of Appeal ruled that the ex- governor, who is currently serving a 13-year jail term in a London prison, has a case to answer.
The appellate court panel, led by Justice Ibrahim Saulawa, ordered that the case be re-assigned to another judge of the Federal High Court for continuation of trial.
Before this will happen, Ibori had bolted away to Dubai where he was arrested and extradited to London for trial and subsequent jail term that will end December 20, this year.
A Southwark Crown court had on April 17, 2012, sentenced Ibori to 13 years in prison after the ex-governor pleaded guilty to 10 counts of money laundering and stealing $250m from the treasury of delta State government.
It would be recalled that the EFCC did subsequently said in a statement in 2014 that the ex-governor would be re-arrested upon the completion of his prison sentence.
The EFCC statement then read, “With this judgment, the coast is clear for Ibori to face trial in Nigeria upon the completion of his jail term in London.”
A twist is likely to emerge on his return as sources at the EFCC suggest that Ibori still has a case to answer but the scenario will be reviewed and charges might be amended.
However, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), looking at the chances of re-arrest said there was no need prosecuting Ibori again as “It will be constitute double jeopardy because he was been punished according to the law and any attempt to arrest him and make him go through the process a second time will be unconstitutional”.
It would be recalled that some of the possessions confiscated from the ex-governor include: a house in Hampstead, North London, worth £2.2m; a property in Shaftesbury, Dorset, for £311,000; a £3.2m mansion in Sandton, near Johannesburg, South Africa; a fleet of armoured Range Rovers valued at £600,000; a £120,000 Bentley Continental GT; and a Mercedes-Benz Maybach 62 bought for €407,000 cash.