James Ibori

James Ibori released from prison

21 December 2016 National State

Former Delta state governor, James Ibori has been released, despite attempts by the home secretary to detain him in prison. He was released on Wednesday afternoon upon a court order, BBC reports.

James Ibori was arrested in Dubai in 2010 and extradited to the UK – where he was prosecuted based on evidence from the Metropolitan Police.

James Ibori

Mr Ibori was sentenced by a United Kingdom’s court to prison for 13 years and served out his term in the midnight of Tuesday.

Mr Ibori pleaded guilty to 10 charges of fraud and money-laundering in February 2012 and is the most prominent Nigerian politician to be successfully prosecuted for corruption.

The former governor’s case was heard in London after prosecutors argued that, although much of the activity in question took place in Nigeria, some money did pass through Britain and British banks.

During his trial, a London court heard the stolen fortune was used to buy six foreign property and a fleet of cars, although the judge said the total amount stolen may in fact be “in excess of 200 million pounds”.

The biggest single fraud involved misappropriating $37 million in fees when Mr Ibori’s Delta State sold its stake in the Nigerian mobile telecoms company V Mobile.

The Ibori case was heralded as a major success for London’s police, with Britain long seen as a destination of choice for corrupt Nigerian politicians to spend their ill-gotten gains.

Mr Ibori, who was elected governor of Delta in 1999 during Nigeria’s transition from military to civil rule, could still play a prominent role in Nigerian public life on his release.

He is out of prison after three and half years of his sentencing, having served a year while trial was ongoing, a year beforehand awaiting trial in London and a year in Dubai from where he was extradited to Britain.


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