Ibori-Ibie, Okoronkwo guilty verdicts: Panic in James Ibori's camp ...Persecution clain, assylum suffer setbacks

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James Ibori
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James Ibori
The recent conviction of Mrs Christine Ibori-Ibie and Ms Udoamaka Okoronkwo(Nee Onuigbo), has thrown the camp of fugitive and ex Governor, James Ibori into disarray and panic. The verdict has put holes in claims by his attorneys and cronies that the ex Delta Governor is being persecuted.

Ibori had recently tried to block his extradition and seek  political asylum in Dubai, the UAE capital. He is alleging political harassment and witch hunting

Meanwhile, the EFCC has expressed optimism that the verdict would give teeth to the process of removing Ibori from Dubai to the UK. The anti-graft agency had been collaborating with the Interpol, UAE cops and MET Police over the matter. A highly placed source at the EFCC told Pointblanknews.com “ It is a welcome development, and we are optimistic these verdicts would make the Dubai authorities give speedy hearing to the application”

Ibori is presently in Dubai, UAE,  brandishing dubious documents alleging political persecution by the Nigerian authorities in collusion with the British authorities. His claim has stalled the extradition hearing at that country's court because the treaty between the UK and UAE forbids extradition if persecution could be proved.

Ibori-Ibie is his sister while Okoronkwo is his mistress. They were tried at the Southwark Crown Court in London. While the later was pronounced guilty of a 9 count money laundering and mortgage fraud charges on Tuesday, the mistress was also found guilty on Wednesday. However his personal assistant Ms Pogoson was cleared of all charges.

Justicew Marcel Awokulehim and ex Atorney General Michael Aondoakaa had tried all they could to bring Okoronkwo back to Nigeria, but were resisted by the British court. Later Awokulehim curiously quashed all 170 charges against her.

Pointblanknews.com learnt that the verdict could dim the chances of Ibori's wife, Theresa Nkoyo, his lawyer, Badresh Gohil, whose trial resumes on June 18. The duo was implicated in the same 70 million pounds money laundering scheme led by Ibori.

Shortly after Okoronkwo was cleared of one of the charges on Tuesday, Ibori's spokesman, Tony Eluemunor went to town alleging political persecution .But when the jury resumed on Wednesday to look at other charges, they returned a guilty verdict. Both of them have been remanded in prison awaiting sentencing on June 7, 2010. They face up to five years in a British prison.

Pointblanknews.com learnt that the Ibori camp which had stalled the extradition hearing in Dubai the UAE capital, with allegations of 'political persecution ' had banked on the acquittal of the trio in London. Their calculation was that if the jury could return a not guilty verdict on his mistress, sister, and personal assistant, it would boost the allegation of persecution.

According to our source, the verdict has sent panic into the Ibori camp, considering the fact that he is the alleged arrow-head of the money laundering and mortgage fraud schemes.

Said our source” It is most likely that Ibori would be found guilty of all charges because these women were used by him to commit these crimes. It therefore means if he steps into that court, no jury would aquit him. That is why he and his cronies are fighting hard to get political asylum in Dubai”