The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday said ex-Governor James Ibori will still face trial in Nigeria after serving a 13-year term in a UK Prison.
It also said with the conviction of Ibori by the Southwark Court in London, Nigeria’s judicial process needs to be reassessed.
The EFCC spoke in a statement in Abuja by its Head of Media and Publicity, Wilson Uwujaren.
The statement said: “The EFCC received with happiness news of the conviction of former Governor of Delta State, Mr. James Ibori, who was this morning sentenced to a 13-year jail term by a Southwark Crown Court in London.
“The Commission welcomes the conviction, which is the icing on a tortuous investigative and legal odyssey for all actors involved in the Ibori saga.
“It is reassuring that today’s sentencing of Ibori was based on the foundation of the case built by the EFCC in 2007 which, unfortunately, was thrown out by the Federal High court, Asaba for lack of merit.
“The same fate has lately befallen other EFCC cases, notably the Erastus Akingbola, Ndudi Elumelu, Dimeji Bankole and Gbenga Daniel matters. They were all thrown out by the courts, purely on technical grounds, without consideration of the substantive issues.
“The fact that a case which supposedly lacked merit in Nigeria could fetch a 13-year jail term in the UK after a landmark guilt plea brings to fore the need for a reassessment of the nation’s justice delivery process. We must strengthen our judicial institutions, if we are to make any headway in the anti- graft efforts.
“More interesting to the Commission in the Ibori conviction is the opportunity for the repatriation of the array of properties and assets amassed overseas by the convict.
“Once again, his fate has proven that there is no safe haven abroad for politically – exposed persons who looted state funds entrusted in their care.
“The Commission expects Ibori to serve his term in the UK and return to Nigeria to face other criminal charges pending in courts, arising from his eight-year rule of Delta State.
“The EFCC wishes to restate the fact that the offence for which Ibori was jailed in London is only a fraction of the array of criminal infractions committed by the former governor.
“The Commission remains committed in its determination to bring Ibori and other alleged corrupt politically exposed persons and corporate titans to book in Nigeria, no matter how long it takes.”