Efforts by the British government to get a court order to continue to detain former Delta state government, James Ibori, who has served out a concurrent 13 years jail term, failed, propelling the presiding Judge to lambast the British Home Secretary, saying she is being unlawful and misusing her powers.
According to TheNewsGuru reporter in the United Kingdom (UK) monitoring the trend of events, there was mild drama in the British High Court today as senior lawyers for the UK’s Home Office failed in their last-minute bid to prevent Ibori’s release.
TheNewsGuru can reveal that the apparent decision to block Ibori’s release and detain him appears to have come from the highest echelons of the UK Government – the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, who was accused in today’s hearing of acting unlawfully and misusing her powers.
Relying on a subsisting confiscation case against Chief Ibori whose term in jail ended yesterday, the British government had wanted an order to either further detain him or compel him to remain in the United Kingdom until the confiscation hearing is completed.
Sian Davies, the Crown Prosecution lawyer did not object to Ibori’s return to Nigeria, yet at the last minute the Home Office stepped in. There is clear discord between the two arms of the British Government.
Ibori’s team was led by Ian McDonald QC, the leading QC on immigration.
The visibly irritated Judge could not understand the Home Secretary’s position and at times was critical of the move to detain Ibori any further.
Justice Juliet May rejected the Home Secretary’s requests for conditions to be imposed and ordered Ibori’s immediate release.
Ivan Krolic, who also attended, explained that Ibori’s confiscation proceedings collapsed in 2013, after the prosecution was unable to establish any theft from the Delta State treasury and any benefit for Ibori. A three-week hearing which heard live evidence was abandoned by the prosecutors – Wass QC and Shutzer-Weissman. Both prosecutors have since been dismissed from the case for gross misconduct.
Krollic further explained that British police officers in the case led by DC McDonald, have again been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission and now face a tough investigation into their corrupt activities in this case. The CPS has confirmed officers in the case were corrupt. It has since disclosed substantial material evidencing the graft.
Ibori and others have long maintained that this prosecution was politically motivated. It was funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), whose senior employee was also the jury foreperson in one of the earlier trials.
The Ibori case has been plagued with British police corruption, exceptional prosecutorial misconduct and fundamental non-disclosure. A multitude of appeals have now been launched or are in the process of being launched.