Read the press statement belowâ€¦
Chief James Onanefe Iboriâ€™s Media Office was
shocked to read in the newspapers of Wednesday January 27, 2016,
that the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the
Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami, said the Federal Government was
priming itself to recover the sum of 6.9m British Pounds Sterling
described as â€œIbori lootâ€.
In a press statement, Mr. Tony Eluemunr,
Iboriâ€™s Media Assistant said
â€˜â€™there is no Ibori loot
anywhere in the world.
Such money, whether in British pounds, American dollars or the
Nigerian Naira just does not exist. This is because the Ibori
London trial is not yet over. It is an incontrovertible fact that
the confiscation hearing has not started at all, and remains months
away into the future. This makes it disappointing that a high
official of State such as the Attorney-General may have been misled
into believing that an Ibori loot not only exists anywhere, but he
even put a figure (6.9 million pounds) to it.
Mr. Eluemunor continued: â€œWith all due
respect to the Minister and the President Muhammadu Buhari
administration, it is curious that such a misleading statement
could have come less than a week that dozens of well-respected
foreign media organisations including the British Broadcasting
Corporation (BBC), The Times of London, The Guardian of
London,Â Â and a host of Nigerian news
outlets reported that the case against Ibori and his associates
have become shaky as some operatives of the London Metropolitan
Police have been accused of bribery and corruption in the course of
their investigations. Thus at the Thursday January 21, 2016 hearing
the prosecution was forced to withdraw its case against one of
Iboriâ€™s counsels, Mr. Bradesh Gohil. It had
charged Gohil of leaking fabricated documents to media
organisations and Members of (British) Parliament, but Gohil turned
the case against the Police, accusing it of misleading the court
with tainted evidence from corrupt operatives and of withholding
key documents which could have proved police corruption.
The New Indian Express of Monday 25 January 2016 ventured
further than the Times to report that Gohil, who was freed from
jail last year, may now challenge his previous conviction, just as
Ibori or any of his associates already convicted may also decide to
In representations to the judge, Stephen Kamlish,
Gohilâ€™s defence team leader accused the Crown
Prosecution Service of â€œpositively misleading
the court and the parties as part of their deliberate cover-up of
In response, the Judge said, â€œThe crown has
offered no evidence for one or both of the following reasons. One,
that the allegations of corruption made by Mr Gohil are true, and
not false. The second is that the crown has suppressed material
both in this court and in other proceedings, including the trial of
Iboriâ€. Then he said in words that must be sweet music
to Iboriâ€™s ears; â€œThe crown
offering no evidence can only mean the crown is not prepared
themselves to explain their decision, either for the abuse of the
court in bad faith or for the police corruption. In those
circumstances, it is our duty to our client to raise these matters
and this brings into question the safety of these (past)
convictions.â€Â This means all the past
convictions could be challenged afresh.
The New Indian Express continued; â€œA Met
police intelligence report seen by the paper suggests an RISC
employee telephoned a police officer working on the Ibori
investigation in 2007 and allegedly told him his inquiries were
â€œon the right trackâ€. Separate
documents shown to Gohilâ€™s defence team are said
to reveal the existence of 19 cash deposits into the same
officerâ€™s bank account. The Crown Prosecution
had allegedly denied the existence of the documentsâ€.
However, it is on record that in the run up to the hearings, Ms
Wass was directly accused by Gohilâ€™s
representative, Mr. Stephen Kamlish, of lying to the Court of
Appeal and also lying to His Honour at the Southwark Court and
disobeying his order for the Crown to disclose evidence in their
possession which include the bank statements of Detective Constable
John McDonald to the Defence before the start of the trial.
Eluemunor said that he assumed that the Minister may have been
misquoted and so did not issue a rebuttal immediately. It was only
when he failed to retract the statement after 24 hours that he
decided to give Nigerians (including the Minister) the true
perspective about the Ibori London trial and state categorically
that the so called â€œIbori Lootâ€ Mr.
Abubakar Malami saw as a â€œlow hanging fruit ripe
for pluckingâ€ must have been a terrible mirage. This
has done nothing though to affect in any way the high regards Chief
Ibori and his Media Office have for President Muhammadu Buhari, his
administration and Ministers, including the Justice Minister, Mr.
Abubakar Malami.Â Chief Ibori wishes them well in their
stated bid to leave Nigeria better than they found it.
Â Signed: Tony Eluemunor
Media Assistant to Chief James Onanefe Ibori.