From Tunde Oyedoyin, London
THE British authorities will today begin the confiscation proceedings for the £50 million assets for which former Delta State Governor James Ibori was jailed on April 17.
Proceedings to strip him of the assets he acquired corruptly would begin in courtroom five at Southwark Crown Court this morning.
Prosecutors, who had already begun the same proceedings for Ibori’s partner-in-crime, Bhadresh Gohil last month would table Ibori’s case before Judge Pitts, according to a Southwark spokeswoman who revealed this to The Guardian yesterday.
“The case is before Judge Anthony Pitts at 10 a.m. tomorrow (today),” the spokeswoman said.
Prior to the spokeswoman confirming the proceedings, the duo of prosecutor Sasha Wass and detective Paul Whatmore had earlier disclosed this to The Guardian outside the court after initiating the same proceedings against Gohil.
Asked when the confiscation process would start, Wass said: “There will be a hearing on May 9.” When asked how long the proceedings would last, she answered: “We don’t know yet, but there will definitely be a short hearing on that date.”
Whatmore added: “We don’t know how long this will last, the court has not revealed the final timetable for now, but we’ll start on that date (Wednesday).”
As reported by The Guardian after his conviction last month, Ibori would be doing his term at Wandsworth Prison and would not be transferred to where he would eventually serve his entire term until the confiscation proceedings were sorted.
“Wandsworth also serves as a holding prison and the reason he’s being held at Wandsworth is because it’s a short distance –less than 30 minutes drive – from the court and this will make it easy for him to be transported to and from if he needs to attend,” one detective officer revealed.
Meanwhile, another detective, Mathew Jones, also spoke of his impression of the former Delta State governor when he met him on arrival from Dubai last year April.
Jones, who also investigated Ibori in the $37 million V-Mobile fraud told The Guardian he was actually the one who took the widely circulated photograph of the former governor displaying his name.
“I was the one who met him on arrival at Heathrow after he was extradited here.”
Asked if Ibori struggled or said anything on arrival from Dubai last year April , Jones said no. “To be honest, he was quite polite. He was a good bloke and was actually friendly.”
Ibori was jailed for 13 years by Judge Anthony Pitts at the same court last month for stealing £50 million during his two terms as governor of Delta State from 1999 to 2007. Gohil, who Pitts described as the “personal bank” of Ibori, is currently serving a ten-year term for his part in the fraud.
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