A United Arab Emirates Court of Cassation in Dubai, yesterday ruled that the former Governor of Delta State, James Ibori, be extradited to the United Kingdom to face trial for money laundering, forgery, credit card fraud and grand theft charges.
The ruling, followed a similar decision on October 17 by the Court of First Instance in Dubai, which ordered Ibori’s extradition to the UK in October.
UK officials said they expected Ibori to be flown to the UK soon. According to agency report, it could not be confirmed immediately if Ibori planned to appeal against yesterday’s judgement before the UAE Supreme Court. Ibori had remained in jail in Dubai as he contested his extradition to the UK.
Ibori is charged with stealing $290 million (230 million Euros) of public funds and money laundering while he was in office. Thereafter, an international arrest warrant was issued for Ibori who is also facing corruption charges in Britain after the discovery of assets suspected to have been bought with stolen money.
On August 2, 2007 London prosecutors successfully applied to freeze the assets of Ibori worldwide worth $35 million.
UK authorities had successfully prosecuted Ibori’s sister, Christine Ibie-Ibori, his mistress, Udoamaka Okoronkwo (nee Onuigbo) on those charges. Both women are serving jail terms in UK prison. Ibori’s wife, Theresa Nkoyo, and his UK-based lawyer, Bhadresh Gohil were also convicted recently.
Bhadresh Gohil, his UK-based lawyer, is also awaiting sentencing after he was found guilty in two separate trials pertaining to his assistance to Ibori in laundering vast sums of money looted from Delta State using UK banks, real estate firms, offshore accounts and cronies.
Meanwhile, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission [EFCC] says it would not relent in its efforts to ensure that the full course of justice applied in the case of the former Delta State governor, who is facing multiple charges bordering on money-laundering and other financial crimes.
Spokesman of the Commission, Femi Babafemi, said yesterday that the anti-graft agency is determined to secure justice, despite the ignorance and misrepresentation being peddled in some quarters. He was reacting to the ruling of the United Arab Emirate Court of Cassation, which affirmed the decision of a Dubai Lower Court in October that Ibori be extradited to the United Kingdom to face trial for money laundering and sundry other charges.
His words: “The ruling by the appellate court in Dubai only goes to confirm our earlier position issued after the first ruling in October, that justice is universal and applicable anywhere in the world.
We have been cooperating with authorities in other jurisdictions on this matter and we will continue to do this until the cause of justice is fully served irrespective of the ignorance and misrepresentation being peddled by mischief makers”.
Reports from Saharareporters, an on-line news agency, said the UAE appellate court in Dubai yesterday, ruled that Ibori be extradited to the United Kingdom to face charges of corruption and money laundering.