Latest On Ibori's Extradition: Ex-Governor Not Arraigned Today


Dubai, UAE May 17, (THEWILL) - The former Nigerian state governor, Mr. James Ibori who was arrested by the Interpol section of Dubai Police last week is still under the watch of the office of the Public Prosecution pending finalization of extradition. As Nigeria has no extradition treaty with the United Arab Emirates, it is not yet known if he will be extradited to Nigeria or to Britain to face charges of money laundering.

THEWILL broke the news of his arrest by Dubai Police upon receiving a Red Notice arrest warrant from Interpol. The Red Notice warrant is issued where persons concerned are wanted by national jurisdictions and Interpol's role is to assist the national police forces in identifying or locating those persons with a view to their arrest and extradition.

These red notices allow the warrant to be circulated worldwide with the request that the wanted person be arrested with a view to extradition.

James Onanefe Ibori served as the governor for the oil-rich Delta State from 1999 to 2007. Media reports in Nigeria said he owns property in Dubai, but this could not be independently verified.

Was not arraigned in court today

Contrary to reports of an arraignment before Dubai Courts, Mr. Ibori was not seen anywhere near the court, THEWILL can authoritatively report.

A source at the Dubai Courts who spoke to us on the condition of anonymity, said it was not possible for the Nigerian ex-governor to appear before the court anytime soon.

"Was it not just last week he was arrested? It will take at least three to four weeks before his case can appear before the courts. Yes, there were some 25 Nigerians arraigned today for miscellaneous crimes. This Ibori was not one of them," he told THEWILL.

On the possibility of fast tracking the Ibori case, he said, "that is not possible in Dubai Courts. Cases are treated on first come first served basis. No case is more 'high profile' than the other. If you recall, there are two former Emirati ministers whose case are still in court — there was no fast tracking there.

"To the best of my knowledge, the Dubai Courts have no jurisdiction over this matter, so I don't think he will be appearing before it. It just so happened that he was arrested by Dubai Police," he added.

Efforts to reach the office of public prosecution for details proved abortive.

However sources at the Public Prosecution Office told THEWILL that discussions between officials of the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the UK Metropolitan Police have begun in earnest.

According to sources at the Dubai Police HQ, "the Interpol notice didn't mention he was a former state governor. It just mentioned a Nigerian national by the name of James Ibori was wanted."

The warrant request from the United Kingdom's Metropolitan Police declared that the suspect is wanted for money laundering as well as other crimes.

Mr. James Ibori was arrested last Wednesday evening at a five-star hotel and the case was referred to the public prosecution. He was freed on bail till the prosecution receives his extradition file. His passport is held along with the passport of the person who bailed him out, THEWILL was told.

If extradited, he would become only the second person to be sent to Britain for trial under a 2008 treaty. The only other person extradited to the UK under the treaty was Jeleel Ahmed, who was sent to the UK last August and is currently on trial in Birmingham for murder.