The Economic and Financial Crimes commission, EFCC, has vowed to arraign the former Delta governor, James Ibori on a 170 count charges. Prior to his conviction on the United Kingdom, UK, EFCC had dragged Ibori before an Asaba High Court on a 170 count charge.
This followed allegations against the former governor bordering on diverting N40bn belonging to the state. Ibori was also accused of trying to bribe ex-Chairman of the anti-graft agency, Nuhu Ribadu with $15m cash. The court, however, struck out the 170 charges levelled against Ibori. But, the anti-graft agency contested the Asaba High Court’s ruling at the Appeal Court, Benin.
A three-man panel of justices on May 15, 2014, at the Benin Division of the Court of Appeal, held that the corruption matter against the ex-governor will be reopened upon completion of his jail term in the UK. The Justice Ibrahim Saulawa-led panel ruled that the matter be reassigned to another judge of the Federal High Court for continuation of trial and ordered that Ibori be re-arrested on completion of his prison sentence.
Against the backdrop of the ruling, the report quoted the EFCC, in a statement as saying, “With this judgment, the coast is clear for Ibori to face trial in Nigeria upon the completion of his jail term in London.” Speaking with Punch, a source said the commission would soon invite Ibori for questioning. According to the source, “Ibori still has 170 charges pending against him. Also, the Appeal Court has given us the go-ahead to prosecute him and this ruling has not been upturned by the Supreme Court.
“As things stand, the EFCC has the right to arrest him at anytime. Ibori, among other allegations, was accused of embezzling N40bn which belonged to the state. Also, a former Chairman of the EFCC, Nuhu Ribadu, alleged that the former governor attempted to bribe him with $15m cash.” Ibori had on Saturday returned to Nigeria, after completing his jail term in the United Kingdom.
The Oghara-born politician was, however, picked up by operatives of the Department of State Services, DSS, upon his arrival at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja. Explaining the rationale behind the agancy’s action, Director General of DSS, Lawal Daura told newsmen that Ibori was addressed on issues bordering on national interest. Ibori has since arrived his hometown of Oghara, Delta State.