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WIKILEAKS: HMG TO CHALLENGE RULING ON IBORI EVIDENCE AS INADMISSIBLE

Source: THE TELEGRAPH, UK. - thewillnigeria.com
FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE, CONTROVERSIAL MICHAEL AONDOAKAA.
FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE, CONTROVERSIAL MICHAEL AONDOAKAA.

Ref ID: 08LONDON2917
Date: 11/21/2008 16:20
Origin: Embassy London
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Destination: 08LONDON2499|08LONDON2882
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Tags: PREL,KCOR,KCRM,PINR,NI,UK
C O N F I D E N T I A L LONDON 002917 SIPDIS DEPART FOR AF/W, AF/FO, INL/C, INL/AAE, AND INR E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/21/2018 TAGS: PREL, KCOR, KCRM, PINR, NI, UK SUBJECT: NIGERIA: HMG TO CHALLENGE RULING ON IBORI EVIDENCE AS INADMISSIBLE REF: A. LONDON 2882 B. LONDON 2499 Classified By: Acting Political Counselor Jim Donegan, reasons 1.4 (b/d ).

1. (C) The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and the Metropolitan Police plan to appeal the November 19 London Court decision ruling that the evidence submitted by the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) to the court in the on-going corruption investigation of former Nigeria Delta State Governor James Ibori is inadmissible, as it should have come from Nigerian Attorney General Michael Andoakaa in accordance with the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT). The case, if upheld, establishes the precedent that the Nigerian Attorney General is the sole authority in the Nigerian government authorized to turn over Nigerian evidence to HMG in UK legal proceedings against Nigerian citizens. According to FCO Nigeria Team Leader Catherine Inglehearn, the CPS and MET Police believe they have a very strong appeal case and that the EFCC evidence will ultimately be allowed in the Ibori case (and the precedent will be overturned). Agreement has been reached with the preceding judge to speed up consideration of the appeal. Legal arguments will be heard in early December, though the actual trial against Ibori will not occur until some time in 2009. In a separate proceeding, the case against Ibori's wife, Theresa Ibori, who is charged with mortgage fraud, will begin on January 5, 2009.

Comment -------
2. (C) Per reftels, the EFCC evidence submitted to HMG against Ibori is a long-festering problem that has soured HMG's relationship with the Nigerian Attorney General and complicated bilateral relations more generally. HMG has tried to mend the relationship with Aondoakaa, including through a recent invitation to London to hear briefings on the CPS's case against James Ibori. The Attorney General has been uninterested and has exacerbated the problems by stonewalling HMG's technical support to the EFCC. HMG has been reluctant to push the Attorney General because the UK continues to pursue a prisoner transfer agreement with Nigeria, which Aondoakaa would have to approve. Visit London's Classified Website: XXXXXXXXXXXXTUTTLE

Courtesy of THE Telegraph, UK.