Ibori Accuses British Prosecutors Of Misconduct, Withholding Of Information | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Ibori Accuses British Prosecutors Of Misconduct, Withholding Of Information

Posted: Jun 8, 2016 at 4:31 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Lawyers representing Chief James Ibori, former governor of Delta State, have accused Britain’s prosecuting authorities of withholding information from them regarding alleged corruption by a British police officer who is involved in Ibori’s investigation and also making misleading statements in court.

The lawyers made the allegations at the resumed hearing of the case against Ibori at the Crown Court, Southwark UK on Monday, June 6, 2016.

Ibori, who was governor of Delta State from 1999 to 2007, is serving a 13-year sentence in Britain after pleading guilty in 2012 to 10 counts of fraud and money laundering.

However, Ibori’s conviction is now being called to question by his defense team, Judge David Tomlinson told Southwark Crown Court.

Prosecution lawyer Jonathan Kinnear, who took over the case earlier this year after the previous team stood down, said the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is conducting a review into whether Ibori’s convictions were sound and expected to conclude it in August. If the allegations of prosecutorial misconduct were confirmed and one or more of Ibori’s convictions were quashed, it would be a major embarrassment for Britain at a time when it is trying to make a big push in the fight against corruption.

Prime Minister David Cameron hosted a global anti-corruption summit in London last month in which President Muhammadu Buhari took part. Days earlier, Cameron was caught on camera calling Nigeria “fantastically corrupt”.

Ibori’s defence team specifically applied for the presiding judge, Judge Tomlinson, to permanently halt court proceedings on the confiscation of Ibori’s assets, which has dragged on for many years.

But the judge, having read the defense lawyers’ formal application for a stay, said that it amounted to a challenge on Ibori’s convictions, a matter that should probably be dealt with by the Court of Appeal, a higher court.

“I am being invited to trespass into matters which are beyond my jurisdiction,” he said.

Kinnear told the court the issue of how and when the defence team had disclosed information “in relation to allegations of corruption” to Ibori’s lawyers was being reviewed by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

The CPS had previously said that initial results of its disclosure review “have found that material exists to support the assertion that a police officer received payment in return for disclosing information about the investigation”.

No ruling was made at the Monday court hearing. Judge Tomlinson adjourned the case until Wednesday, June 8.