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Ibori Loses Appeal Against London Conviction

A panel of three Appellate Court Judges in Britain have dismissed an appeal filed by former governor of Delta State in Nigeria, James Ibori over his conviction and sentence in 2012.

Ibori was jailed in Britain for laundering tens of millions of dollars in stolen public funds through British banks and properties.

He was charged before a London court in 2012 on 10 count charges of fraud and money-laundering involving sums amounting to at least £50 million pounds ($66 million). He pleaded guilty to the charges and received a 13-year jail term out of which he served half, as is common in the British system.

However, Ibori, who had since finished serving his sentence and back in Nigeria, appealed against his conviction despite his guilty plea, alleging that one of the London police officers who had investigated him was himself corrupt and that the prosecution had covered that up.

But the three senior appeal judges said the corruption of the police officer was not proven but in any case it was irrelevant to Ibori’s conviction because if it had happened, he had instigated it.

“If (the policeman) was corrupt, Ibori was the instigator or at the very least intimately involved in any such corruption,” their written ruling said.

“Regardless of any disclosure failures on the part of the Crown (prosecutors), Ibori was thoroughly informed on this topic prior to his pleas of guilty.”

With this judgement, Ibori is expected to lose investments in Britain worth tens of millions of dollars which will be returned return to Nigerian public coffers. The assets have been frozen for years while the case has been dragging through the courts.

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