14th December, 2010
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has said that it is delightedÂ with the ruling by a Dubai Appeal Court yesterday that former governor of DeltaÂ State, Mr. James Ibori, should be extradited to Britain to face charges of moneyÂ laundering.
EFCC spokesman, Mr. Femi Babafemi, told lâ€™Agence France Presse, AFP, after theÂ ruling that the agency is â€œexcited about this ruling.â€ He said: â€œJames Ibori hasÂ failed to get the appeal court in Dubai to stop his extradition to Britain forÂ trial. We are excited about this ruling.â€
Ibori, governor between 1999 and 2007, was arrested in May in Dubai, but appealedÂ the July ruling of a lower court in Dubai that he should be repatriated to BritainÂ for trial.
The former governor is charged with stealing 290 million dollars (over N40 billion)Â of public funds and engaging in money laundering while he was in office.
An international arrest warrant was issued for his arrest in Britain after theÂ discovery of assets suspected to have been bought with stolen money.
On 2 August, 2007, London prosecutors successfully applied to have Iboriâ€™s worldwideÂ assets worth 35 million dollars (over N5 billion) frozen.
On October 17, a court of first instance in Dubai ruled that Ibori be extradited toÂ the United Kingdom where he is wanted on charges of money laundering, credit cardÂ fraud and official theft. Similar charges have already led to the conviction of hisÂ wife, Theresa Nkoyo; his mistress Udoamaka Okoronkwo (nee Onuigbo), and his elderÂ sister Christine-Ibori-Ibie.
Bhadresh Gohil, his UK-based lawyer, is also awaiting sentencing after he was foundÂ guilty in two separate trials pertaining to his assistance to Ibori in launderingÂ vast sums of money looted from Delta State using UK banks, real estate firms,Â offshore accounts and cronies.
Ibori has remained in jail in Dubai as he contests his extradition to the UK. He wasÂ recently visited by Senator James Manager (PDP, Delta South), who confided inÂ associates that he was shocked to see how diminished Ibori has become in his DubaiÂ jail, where he addresses even low level prison guards with unaccustomed courtesy.