FG May Amend Charges Against Ibori, Re-Arraign Him

James Ibori
James Ibori

The office of the Attorney General of the Federation, the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, PACAC, and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, are currently working together to review the Corruption charges against former Delta State Governor, James Ibori, who arrived Nigeria on Saturday after serving jail term in the United Kingdom for money laundering.

Reports say the exercise involves taking a second look at the 170-count charge initially brought against the ex-governor by the EFCC.

An anonymous staff of the federal ministry of Justice was quoted by VANGUARD newspaper as saying that the process had been on even before Ibori returned to the country, adding that the exercise would be holistic and would take into consideration all that have happened so far in relation to the matter.

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The source noted that there might be fresh angles that could possibly result in amendment of the already existing 170-count charge against Ibori.

According to him, the office of the AGF had earlier considered initiating an extradition process against the former governor before he returned to the country voluntarily.

However, Vanguard reported that the AGF, Abubakar Malami, and the Chairman of PACAC, Itse Sagay, could not comment on the issue as calls placed to their telephones lines were not answered.

Recall that in 2008, Justice Marcel Awokulehin of the Federal High Court Asaba infamously struck out all the charges against Ibori, ruling that the EFCC had failed to establish a prima-facie case against him.

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But six years later, in May 2014, a three-man panel of Appeal Court Justices, led by Ibrahim Salauwa, upturned the ruling, insisting that the ex-governor has a case to answer after his 13-year sentence in the UK.Other members of the Panel included Justices P. M Ekpe and H. A. Barka.

The panel held that the EFCC had enough evidence to prosecute Ibori and two others, including his alleged mistress, Udoamaka Okoronkwo and one Chinedu Ebie.

Ibori was also accused of siphoning about N40 billion from the Delta State treasury as well as trying to bribe the former EFCC chairman, Nuhu Ribadu with the sum of $15 million to kill the charges.

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The Money was later forfeited to the federal government at the orders of Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the federal high court Abuja.

Justice Kolawole rejected the application of the Delta State government,under former Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, arguing that the $15 million bribe money be returned to the state coffers.

The judge held that Delta state government failed to provide enough evidence to prove that Ibori looted the money from its treasury while in office as Governor between May 1999 to May 2007.