July 26, 2010

EFCC takes Ibori’s case file to Britain

By Abdulwahab Abdulah  with agency report
LAGOS—AS the  Dubai Police was set to extradite the former Delta State Governor, Chief James Ibori to UK for trial on money laundering and related offences, yesterday, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, said it would move its case file to Britain to aid his trial.

EFCC spokesman, Mr. Femi Babafemi, told Vanguard that the anti graft agency was determined to ensure that the former governor answered all fraud related charges brought against him both in Nigeria and the UK.

Though the agency noted that it could not directly extradite Ibori to Nigeria from Dubai because of lack of an empowering treaty between the two countries, it emphasized that it was going to work with the UK authorities by supplying them with necessary files and documents to successfully prosecute him.

Babafemi said the anti graft agency would take over Ibori’s trial after the conclusion of his alleged money laundering charges in the UK.

Chief James Ibori

While explaining that the agency had not lost the battle of bringing Ibori to face justice in Nigeria, Babafemi noted: “As I am talking to you, we are working together with the UK authorities and we are supplying them necessary information and documents on Ibori’s corruption cases.

We are going to supply them with details from his alleged corruption charges file, as well as relying on them for information on what happened there. So, when we need his presence here, he will be brought probably after he must have answered his money laundering charges up there.”

Asked whether this development would not finally jeopardize his trial in Nigeria, Babafemi replied: “No, not at all, we are determined to bring him to justice no matter what it takes. We will only allow them to conclude their case with him, then we will request for his presence to answer the charges.

“I must tell you that we have not lost the struggle to ensure that he answered all charges preferred against him here, but we do not have extradition treaty with the Dubai Police, making it difficult for us to bring him here directly.”

The Dubai police, yesterday, said that James Ibori, wanted by the UK on charges of money laundering, who was arrested in May this year by Interpol police officers, would soon be extradited to London.

Interpol warrant

Acting upon an arrest warrant issued through Interpol, Dubai Police investigators arrested Ibori at a five star hotel in Palm Jumeirah. He was initially bailed and later detained, said a Dubai police source. Based on media reports, the security agencies had tried to arrest Ibori to question him over allegations that he allegedly looted $290 million from Delta State government coffers while he was governor.

However, hundreds of Ibori’s supporters prevented police from arresting him.

Chairwoman of the  Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mrs. Farida Waziri, was quoted by media reports as saying that Ibori was detained after an arrest warrant was issued by Interpol.

When extradited Ibori would become the second person to be sent to Britain for trial from Dubai under a 2008 treaty.

British trial
According to various media reports, his girlfriend, sister and personal assistant were earlier convicted for  money-laundering in London.