THEWILL Exclusive - London Trial: Ibori Stuns MET, CPS, To Plead Guilty Today

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… No Plea Bargain Deal Between Ibori and Crown Prosecution

… 30 Percent Reduction In Jail Sentence Guaranteed

… To Get Credit For Time Served In Dubai, London Detention Facilities

LONDON, February 27, (THEWILL) - Former Delta State Governor, Chief James Onanefe Ibori will plead guilty to select charges bordering on money laundering today, Monday, February 27, 2012, THEWILL can exclusively report.

THEWILL has also been informed that there is no plea bargain deal between Chief Ibori and the Crown Prosecution Service.

In a twist that is expected to shock the Crown Prosecution Service and the Metropolitan Police Monday, Ibori through his lead counsel Nicholas Purnell QC will ask the court to read out the indictments again to him and thereafter he would plead guilty to some of the charges from the 13 charges as amended in Trial One and then also plead guilty to a few of the charges in Trial Two; the V mobile matter, which trial is slated to commence in January 2013.

“JI (James Ibori) is not seeking a plea bargain and neither does he want any favours or concessions from a system that is out to destroy him but instead he is wary of the impact and cost of a long trial and just wants this whole chapter of events to be done with, so that everyone can move on with their lives,” one source told THEWILL on Sunday.

Ibori had before now repeatedly maintained that he is innocent of the indictments filed against him and instead blamed some key players in the Nigerian and British establishments for what a large number of his political associates have described as persecution.

A few years ago, a Federal High Court in Asaba threw out more than 170 criminal counts bordering on similar money laundering and corruption charges filed against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

In exchange for a guilty plea, the British legal system usually rewards an accused with a 30 percent reduction in jail sentence. With Ibori’s bold move, the trial judge, Judge Pitts will apply the 30 percent incentive when he is sentenced. Also, Ibori will also have to his credit the months he was detained in Dubai before his extradition to London as well as months served inside a London detention facility. Ibori was arrested in Dubai on May 12, 2010 at the instance of the Metropolitan Police of London.

Chief Ibori’s stunning decision and sudden maneuver is expected to stir the Metropolitan Police and Crown Prosecution team led by Sasha Wass QC, who have personalized and sensationalized Ibori’s trial using some sympathetic Nigerian online blogs to promote anti-Ibori sentiments.

However, the trial of Mr. Elias Preko, a Financial Adviser to Chief Ibori will proceed as Mr. Preko has said he is innocent of the charges filed against him. Preko and Ibori were jointly charged in the money laundering suits.

THEWILL gathered that the British government has expended over $20 million in a bid to successfully build a case against Ibori.

Ibori’s sentencing will however be put on hold until Preko’s trial is concluded.