Abuja - The Federal Government has commenced the process of extraditing a former governor of Delta State, James Ibori, from the United Kingdom, Punch reports.
The Southwark Crown Court had, on April 17, 2012, sentenced Ibori to 13 years in prison after the ex-governor pleaded guilty to 10 counts of money laundering and stealing $250m from the Delta State treasury.
Ibori, a Peoples Democratic Party chieftain, was the governor of the state between 1999 and 2007.
He was, however, released on Wednesday following a court order that declined the UK government’s request for an extension of his sentence.
The UK Home Office had opposed Ibori’s release on the grounds that the process of the permanent forfeiture of his assets had yet to be completed.
According to the BBC, the UK Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, did not intend to deport Ibori to Nigeria until he handed over £18m of the “proceeds of crime” he alleged the ex-governor held.
The convicted former governor, was, however, allowed to go home on the condition that he would not travel out of the UK.
He is currently residing at his residence on Abbey Road, London, where he is under strict surveillance from where he will report to the UK Police weekly.
Impeccable sources within the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission said on Wednesday that the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), had directed the EFCC to forward the file containing the 170 charges earlier brought against Ibori in Nigeria.
The EFCC operative said that the Federal Government would liaise with the British government to ensure that Ibori was extradited to Nigeria.
Also read:Britain demands N7bn before Ibori’s deportation
When asked why all Ibori’s London properties had not yet been forfeited to the Federal Government despite the ample time, the EFCC source explained that the British system was such that asset recovery was done post-conviction.
Spokesman for the British High Commission in Nigeria, Joe Abuku, said the UK government would continue to assist Nigeria with the recovery of properties.
He, however, said he could not comment on the legal proceedings against Ibori.
In a terse text message to one of our correspondents, the spokesman for the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, said, “His (Ibori’s) fate will be determined by the provisions of the law.”
A Federal High Court sitting in Asaba, Delta State, had, on December 17, 2009, discharged and acquitted Ibori of all 170 charges of corruption brought against him by the EFCC.
In 2010, his case was reopened by the government of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
- News 24