Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Trial of ex-governor James Ibori gets rowdy - Police called in

Police were called to a London court yesterday, where  former Delta  State Governor, James Ibori, was due to be sentenced over a fraud involving $250 million of state funds.

He will learn of how many years he will remain behind bars today.

Three police vans, five cars and a helicopter were deployed to Southwark Crown Court on the first day of a two-day sentencing hearing, after reports of a disturbance inside, an AFP correspondent said.

Witnesses said supporters of Ibori, who was governor between 1999 and 2007, became loud and aggressive when they were excluded from the packed courtroom.

“We were there to provide assistance because it was oversubscribed that there were just too many people to get in,” a police spokeswoman told AFP, adding that order had been quickly restored.

A court spokesman confirmed there had been overcrowding and that the hearing had been delayed.

Ibori had faced corruption charges in Nigeria and in Britain, where he was pursued by a police unit which investigates the activities of foreign officials who seek to launder stolen assets in Britain.

Scotland Yard said during his two terms as governor, Ibori “systematically stole funds from the public purse, secreting them in bank accounts across the world”, in a fraud worth $250 million.

Despite earning less than $25,000 a year, his portfolio included a £2.2 million house in the upmarket London district of Hampstead and a £3.2 million mansion in Johannesburg’s wealthy Sandton district in South Africa.

He owned a $20 million jet and a fleet of armoured Range Rovers and spent money on fees for exclusive British boarding schools and expensive hotels.

In February, Ibori pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to launder money, five of money laundering and one of obtaining a property transfer by deception.

He also admitted conspiracy to defraud,  make false instruments, and one count of money laundering linked to a $37 million share fraud surrounding the sale of shares in Nigerian company V Mobile.

This Day

Related stories: Former Nigerian governor to Delta state James Ibori sentenced to 13 years in UK prison 

Former Delta state governor James Ibori pleads guilty to money laundering

Video interview with James Ibori about corruption charges

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