5th March, 2012
Some Lagos-based lawyers have expressed mixed feelings about the statement credited to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) that former Governor James Ibori would still be tried in Nigeria after his sentencing in the UK.
Ibori, former governor of Delta, who had been standing trial over a 10-count charge of fraud, stealing and money laundering in a Southwark Crown Court, in London, is to be sentenced on April 16.
The spokesman for the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, said on February 28 that the former governor would still stand trial in Nigeria after serving his jail term in London.
Some of the lawyers who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), however, spoke against a second trial, describing it as double jeopardy, while others supported it.
Mr. Vincent Uwana said that if Ibori had pleaded guilty to the charge against him before a London court, he could no longer be tried over the same charge in Nigeria.
He said that to do so would amount to double jeopardy and double punishment “since in the eyes of the law, once you have been tried for a particular offence and convicted, you cannot be tried for the same offence bearing the same ingredient.”
Mr. Spurgeon Ataene said that once the former governor had served his jail term in London, that ordinarily should mark the end of further conviction and sentencing.
He said it was not appropriate to have a retrial of Ibori in Nigeria as he would have served the cause of justice.
However, Mr. Jude Ozemoya, said that another trial of the former governor in Nigeria was in order because there were different jurisdictions.
Ozemoya said that Ibori had not been tried under the Nigerian law for offences committed in Nigeria.
“He has to come back to Nigeria to stand trial for the offences,” he said.
The lawyer said that justice was a three-way thing, adding that it involved justice to the accused, justice to the state and justice to the victim of the crime.
” The EFCC can even request for the record of proceedings from the UK Court and this will help in expediting action for his trial in Nigeria,” Ozemoya said.