Revelations have emerged about how Justice Juliet May of the Royal Court of Justice, Queens Court 1, London saved former Delta State Governor, James Ononafe Ibori from further incarceration.
It would be recalled that on 27 February 2012 Ibori pleaded guilty to ten counts of money laundering and conspiracy to defraud at Southwark Crown Court, London. Ibori was accused of stealing US$250 million from the Nigerian public purse.
On Tuesday, April 17, 2012, Ibori was sentenced to 13 years by Southwark Crown Court for his crimes. Among possessions confiscated were:
- A house in Hampstead, north London, for £2.2m
- A property in Shaftesbury, Dorset, for £311,000
- A £3.2m mansion in Sandton, near Johannesburg, South Africa
- A fleet of armoured Range Rovers valued at £600,000
- A £120,000 Bentley Continental GT
- A Mercedes-Benz Maybach 62 bought for €407,000 cash, that was shipped direct to his mansion in South Africa.
Mr Ibori served out his term in the midnight of Tuesday, 20 December 2016.
A twist was added by the UK Home Office who sought his further incarceration on the ground that his confiscation hearings are still on-going.
A statement by his spokesman, Mr Eluemunor read: “In a curious move, the British Home Office, instead of releasing Ibori on December 20, informed him that he would be detained on the grounds that his confiscation hearing had not been concluded.
“So, in court, Ibori’s lawyers exposed the injustice in the indefinite detention the Home Office had planned for Ibori. They told the Judge that there were no grounds in law under which Ibori could be detained and that his detention for one day by the Home office was unlawful”.
Mr Ibori’s team was led by Ian McDonald, the leading QC on immigration.
Ibori’s spokesman further said that the visibly irritated Judge, who could not understand the Home Secretary’s position, was critical of the move to detain Ibori any further.
“Justice May rejected the Home Secretary’s requests for conditions to be imposed and ordered Ibori’s immediate release,” the statement further read.