…As his London case enters appeal stage
As the case between the London Metropolitan Police and Chief James Onanefe Ibori and associates entered the second day at Court of Appeal on Thursday 22/3/2018 in London, Ibori’s legal team showed overwhelming evidence of police corruption. In a press statement dated Friday , March 23,2018, Chief Ibori’s Media Assistant, Tony Eluemunor, said that a police officer, DC John McDonald was mainly at the end of Ibori’s finger pointing because that particular officer was at the heart of the cases which started in 2006, and he has been the topic of several police investigations and is now accepted by the British Crown Prosecution Service as being corrupt.
Also, he was the one who built the Ibori investigation on inferences, instead of on proving allegations against Ibori beyond every reasonable doubt.
Ibori’s lawyers made three key submissions on Thursday. The first was that the lead case officer, DC McDonald was corrupt and accepted bribes and they provided heaps of evidence in support.
Second; that the Met police deliberately covered up the corruption from 2007 till the end of the case. Third; that the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) then failed to make proper disclosure of the Police corruption to the defence team. The Court was told that the conduct of Prosecution was of such gravity that to maintain conviction would bring the globally respected British administration of justice into disrepute because the Crown Prosecution had mislead the Courts and Court of Appeal on several occasions.
For instance, Ms. Sasha Wass QC told UK’s Director of Public Prosecutions personally around January 20, 2016, that the disclosed evidence confirms that DC McDonald was corrupt. She described the evidence the Met Police had as high-grade intelligence but which, staggeringly, has never been provided to the Defence teams. Wass stated that she would not be prepared to prosecute any case in which DC McDonald was involved owing to the man’s track record in the Ibori case. Wass claimed that there were multiple instances where DC McDonald was paid bribes by Cliff Knuckey.
The evidence comprised an internal Met Police anti-corruption report which demonstrated clear evidence including telephone traffic between RISC and some Police officers. DC McDonald was known as ‘C22’in the records and was in receipt of payments even in another case too. ‘Source A’ intelligence in the possession of the Met confirmed a payment in September 2007. It was described by Sasha Wass QC as reliable and high grade intelligence in her statement.
The Met deliberately failed to properly investigate the findings by prematurely closing down the investigation, known as Operation Limonium which revealed a deeply corrupt relationship between RISC and Police in particular, the Proceeds of Corruption Unit ‘POCU’. Operation Limonium would have severely damaged the Metropolitan Police reputation. This failure was deliberate and was done to protect the Police and maintain the Ibori investigation, Eluemunor said.
Operation Limonium identified multiple strands of corruption involving RISC and other police officers. It appears that the MPS had recognized the potential consequences to scuppering the Ibori investigation.
The internal Met report described RISC as NIM Level 3 Red 55 IDG matrix – an aggressive corruptor of the police and engaged in a cycle of corruption.
Neligan said in May 2012 that this risk of a proper investigation into DC McDonald and his corruption was going to ‘scupper a multi-million-pound investigation’ into Ibori. But Police engaged in “Disclosure failures” now at the heart of this appeal – by repeated assertions that nothing was there to be disclosed.
The UK aid agency, the Department for International Development (DFID) was funding the police unit even by December 2006. It was noted that the UK aid agency had spent some £4.9m on the police unit in which DC McDonald was working. Regular reports were made from the Police to DFID and this provided one of the key reasons why the Police did not to lose this slush source of funding.
Remarkably, this Appeal is not about confiscation. This issue was heard before His Honour Justice Pitts in September 2013, when the Crown Prosecution Service abandoned its confiscation case after the Court heard an independent forensic evidence. Mr. Henry Blaxland QC appeared for Udaomaka Onuigbo.
He submitted that the court should find that the police deliberately covered up the DC McDonald’s corruption in this case, which represents an abuse of process. He submitted that the integrity of the Court process has been compromised. The disclosed Met Police dated 15 Feb 2007 Intelligence Log confirms her legal professional privilege was compromised. The non-disclosure has also been significant and repeated the Courts observation that DC McDonald as fortunate to escape prosecution previously.
Mr. David Emmanuel appeared for Christine Ibori. Mr Emmanuel argued that her legal professional privilege was violated. DC McDonald played a vital role in her prosecution and the corruption plainly affects the safety of the convictions. Christopher Convey representing Lambertus De Boer. De Boer was appealing the V Mobile Case. Convey argued there had been police corruption and non-disclosure which rendered the convictions unsafe. Convey identified a number of significant disclosure failings which would have assisted the defence. The original case was deeply flawed and the evidence did not support the prosecution case.