Judge David Tomlinson of Southwark Crown Court in the United Kingdom (UK) is set to order the seizure of more than 100 million pounds ($129 million) from former Delta State governor James Ibori, who was convicted of fraud and money laundering in Britain.
Ibori, a close ally of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, was the governor of Delta from 1999 to 2007. The former governor had in 2012 admitted to 10 charges of fraud and money laundering and was sentenced to 13 years in prison. He was extradited from Dubai to London in 2011 after fleeing Nigeria.
President Bola Tinubu (left) with the former Delta State Governor Mr James Ibori
The British authorities indicted him for stealing public funds and laundering them through UK banks and properties. As the confiscation proceedings against Ibori are drawing close to completion, Judge Tomlinson has made factual findings regarding how much money Ibori benefited from his crimes.
According to Reuters, during a hearing on Thursday, the prosecution and the defense presented their arguments on how the confiscation figure should be calculated based on the judge’s findings. The judge is expected to finalise and issue his order on Friday.
Jonathan Kinnear, the prosecution lawyer, told the court that the total amount that should be confiscated from Ibori was 101.5 million pounds and that if he failed to pay, he should face an additional prison term of five to 10 years.
Reuters quoted James Ibori as saying he planned to appeal against the confiscation order. Akelicious reports that Ibori is a powerful political godfather with close ties with President Tinubu. He has visited the president thrice at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.