How can we forget James Ibori, the infamous ex-governor of Delta state found guilty of money laundering? Now, with the aim of squashing his conviction by a London court, Ibori has taken the United Kingdom to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France. It’s funny, and also ridiculous, that a convicted money launderer is exploring other options to get back his freedom.
Ibori was governor of Delta between 1999 to 2007, and was jailed in Britain in 2012 for laundering tens of millions of dollars in stolen public funds through British banks and properties. He pleaded guilty in a London court in 2012 to a 10-count charge of fraud and money-laundering, involving sums amounting to at least 50 million pounds ($66 million). All these monies is so much to process. Now, think of the prosperity and progress those funds would have done to Delta if they were channelled into a sector, say, education or healthcare.
The theme of Ibori’s appeal according to the papers filed by his counsel is that Britain disobeyed its own laws in a rush to get him convicted. His counsel said: ”This application concerns an unusual provision of United Kingdom law: s17 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, RIPA. It prohibits any reference, in any proceedings, to an intercepted communication or its contents like an intercepted phone call in circumstances in which its origin as an intercepted communication is disclosed or could be inferred. The United Kingdom is virtually unique in having such a provision: intercepted communications are used routinely as evidence in court proceedings throughout Europe and the rest of the world.’’
We’ll see how this development unfolds.