TheNigerianVoice Online Radio Center

James Ibori Back in Court Tomorrow for Confiscation Hearing

Listen to article

Disgraced and jailed former Delta State governor, James Ibori, will have the luxury of breathing the fresh air of freedom when he returns to the Southwark Crown Court in London tomorrow for the confiscation hearing of the over   £50 million assets for which

he was sentenced to 13 years in prison in April. understands that Ibori had requested to be present in court in May when the confiscation hearing was listed for mention, but the Judge, who jailed him, declined, saying it wasn't necessary. Therefore, the former power broker of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who is about five months into his nearly five-year jail term, will appear in Courtroom 5 for the hearing as the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and his defence team finalise arrangement to confiscate his ill-gotten assets. It remains unclear whether the confiscated assets will be returned to the people of Delta State.

Crown Court sources told that Ibori will be present for the hearing, but declined to disclose from which prison Ibori will be coming from ever since the convicted former governor was transferred from the Wandsworth Prison, where he spent the early days of his conviction.

  A source close to Ibori 's eccentric mistress in London told that Ibori 's friends have all but abandon him in jail as he has not been receiving many visits from his former colleagues in the corridors of power since being transferred away from the Wandsworth Prison. The source said two former governors, one from the ruling PDP and another from one of the opposition parties, were the only people who visited Ibori last Christmas while he was awaiting trial.

Judge Anthony Pitts jailed Ibori for 13 years in April after his defence team reached out to the CPS with a guilty plea bargain, some weeks before trial was scheduled to begin. For not wasting court time and British taxpayers' money, Pitts, had in jailing him, said: 'Total sentence, which I impose on you, is 13 years. You are to serve half (six and a half years) of that. The 625 days (one year and 260 days), which you have spent in custody are to be credited to the amount of years to serve.'

Pitts revealed then that in giving Ibori 'discounts' for his jail term, he factored in the fact that the accused pleaded guilty plea on February 27, rather than allowing the case to proceed to a 12-week jury trial. In essence, Ibori will spend at least four years and nine months before he is deported to Nigeria like other foreign criminals, who served term in any of Her Majesty's Prisons (HMPs).

Although Ibori is to serve less than five years, Monday's court appearance and hearing will determine whether he will be freed in a little over four years or be held for a longer period. Everything depends on both him and his defence team. If they make the prosecutor's job easy on Monday by readily giving all necessary information to get the stolen wealth confiscated, Ibori will be on the plane to Nigeria in around Christmas of 2016, but if the CPS smell anything contrary, Ibori will not be released until the CPS 'gets every penny,' one court source told yesterday in London.