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Money laundering: Appeal Court overturns Ibori's acquittal

By The Citizen
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Six years after Justice Marcel Awokulehin sensationally struck out the 170-count charge of money laundering preferred by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, against former governor of Delta State, Chief James Onanefe Ibori, a three-man panel of justices at the Benin Division of the Court of Appeal yesterday ruled that he has a case to answer.

The unanimous decision of the court to set aside the infamous ruling of Awokulehin was delivered by Justice Ibrahim Saulawa, supported by Justices P. M Ekpe and H. A Barka.

Ibori is currently serving a 13-year jail term in a London prison.

Displeased with the ruling by Awokulehin, then of the Federal High Court in Asaba, the EFCC had approached the appellate court to set aside the judgement on the grounds that the court erred in law.

The appeal was predicated on four grounds. One, that the trial judge only looked at the proof of evidence and evaluated same as if the prosecution had called all its witnesses and trial has been concluded.

Secondly, that the procedure was by way of summary trial and not trial by indictment or information.

Furthermore, that the proof of evidence clearly showed that a prima facie case has been disclosed against the accused/respondent and that the judge (Awokulehin) erred when he held that no case was disclosed against the accused/respondent.