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There are apparent signals that the recently freed former governor of Delta State, Chief James Onanefe Ibori may not be home so soon.
Reason, being that he may proceed to Dubai to finish the business he was pursuing before he was arrested and extradited to London where he was tried and jailed for 13 years in 2012 which ran concurrently leading to his freedom early last week.
Many of his friends and associates who had thought that we will be home as soon as possible had cleared about 20 hectres of land, preparatory for a welcome party before indications started to emerge that the federal government of Nigeria is already dusting his case file on a pending appeal at the Benin Court of Appeal.
Business Hilights can authoritatively report that the pioneer Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu has already been listed as a key witness against Chief Ibori, who the Federal Government is attempting to repatriate from the United Kingdom.
Ribadu had in an affidavit accused Ibori of giving him $15m in 2007 so that the EFCC boss would not initiate a case against him.
However, it was revealed then that after receiving the cash, Ribadu entered it into evidence after which it was kept in the vault of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Besides, the EFCC is expected to amend the 170 charges brought against Ibori in 2008 in order to avoid a case of double jeopardy.
The charges will be attached to an application for mutual legal assistance which will be sent to the UK government
Competent source at EFCC had revealed that “Ibori’s alleged crimes are many. He was convicted on 10 counts of money laundering and conspiracy to defraud”.
“He can be charged with offering gratification to a public officer in order to refrain from acting in the exercise of his official duties regarding the investigation of the petition against him. This is not double jeopardy.
In his preliminary explanation which gave bite to the planned rearrangement, the fromer EFCC boss said “Ibori approached me with $15m to stop his investigation. The money was brought in sacks. I called my people because the money was in big bags, which two people could not carry and we deposited it in the CBN as evidence against him.”
It would be recalled that in July 2012, the EFCC had approached a Federal High Court in Abuja, requesting for a final order forfeiting the $15m Ibori bribe which had been in the vaults of the CBN for more than five years to the Federal Government as unclaimed proceeds of crime.
Then, Justice Gabriel Kolawole on October 25, 2013, awarded the Federal government ownership of the $15m Ibori bribe which is the subject of legal tussle between the EFCC and the Delta State Government.
The jurist noted than that in the final analysis, “the applicant’s application to make a final forfeiture order succeeds and the said sum of $15m is hereby forfeited to the first applicant, that is, the Federal Government who shall take steps to capture it in its earnings of the Federal Government of Nigeria in its 2012/2013 fiscal year and shall administer the funds to address specific needs that will be beneficial to a greater number of the citizenry.”
The Attorney General of the Federation had listed Ribadu among the Federal Government’s witnesses against Ibori in the impending action and Ribadu said, “If I am asked to testify, I will. But like I told you, nobody has contacted me.”
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