James Ibori might be leaving UK jail soon – Here’s why

Former governor of Delta state, James Ibori, who has been serving a 13-year sentence to prison in the UK, is hopeful that his conviction by a British court will be overturned.

James Ibori was sentenced to jail in the United Kingdom on corruption charges since 2012.

His spokesperson, Tony Eluemunor said on Friday, January 22 that Ibori’s camp is hopeful that the judgement would be overturned as there was a twist that surfaced in another trial.

Eluemunor revealed that on Thursday, January 21, the UK director of public prosecution applied to drop the case against Bhadresh Gohil, one of Ibori’s lawyers, over an alleged attempt by the police to manipulate justice.

Gohil had accused the London Metropolitan Police officers digging into Ibori’s case of being involved in bribery and corruption.

Gohil’s accusation, if true could raise doubts on the justice of the conviction of Ibori.

Sasha Wass, the crown prosecutor, also said that the UK authorities were no longer interested in pursuing the case against Gohil, according to Eluemunor, and chose not to reveal why the case was dropped.

Eluemunor said: “The Prosecution’s dropping of the case on Thursday will have a knock on effect on the confiscation case against Ibori and Gohil scheduled for May as Judge Testar has ordered that materials withheld from Ibori and associates be made available to their legal teams – including the lawyers of Christine Ebie and Udoamaka Onuigbo (his sister and former wife respectively, earlier convicted).

“Also, the defence lawyer, Kamlish, informed the Judge that he would ask the Court of Appeal to retry the case afresh, as though it would be handling a totally new case. This means that the earlier convictions may be overturned if such an appeal sails through.”

Eluemunor stated that Ibori’s lifeline surfaced during Thursday’s proceedings when the judge “immediately ordered that the all the materials the prosecution had withheld from the defence be made available to Ibori’s and all his associates’ legal team”.

“Kamlish said their case had been contested on two very simple basis: firstly, that Gohil’s allegations that the Police Officers investigating the Ibori case were corrupt were true, and was central to all the cases already decided; and secondly, that the Prosecution had suppressed critical material in the trials of James Ibori and in the Court of Appeal, and that was the reason why they were about to enter into an abuse of court process argument. Thus, said the lawyer, the Crown’s pleading of no evidence on Thursday shows that the allegations are true,” Eluemunor revealed.

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