Monday, December 9, 2013

Ibori’s Case Adjourned Until Dec 17

There was a new twist and complications in the reopened asset
confiscation hearing of the former Delta State Governor, Chief James
Ibori, at Southwark Crown Court Monday.
At the hearing, it was revealed that the benefits that Ibori's sister,
Udoamaka Okoronkwo, got is to be re-determined, after the Appeal Court
ruled in her favour.
Ibori's lawyer, Gohil is also contesting the benefits he got at the
Court of Appeal and a verdict is fixed for December 14 to that effect.
The new development then forced the judge, Anthony Pitts, to adjourn
the hearing till December 17.
Less than an hour after the case was adjournment in courtroom 14,
an accomplice of the former governor was found guilty of fraud and
money laundering in the same courtroom by a jury .
Former Goldman Sachs investment banker, Elias Preko, 54, was given
four-and-a-half-years jail term on each of the two charges, but Pitts
ordered the Ghanaian national to serve just two-and-a-half-years, as
the two terms would run concurrently.
Before returning a guilty verdict, the jurors had sat through the over
four-week trial and coincidentally, it was minutes before Ibori's
adjournment that they sent a note to the judge that they were ready
with a unanimous decision.
But prior to Preko going the way of his master, Ibori's hearing had
assumed a more complicated dimension as the crown prosecutor, Sasha
Wass, told Pitts that the case was now "going to be a three-hander
It may not have been what the judge was looking forward to, but he
appeared ready for what the case may have in stock.
As soon as Wass reopened the case, Pitts, who confessed he had "never
ever seen a case – getting this complicated after the accused had been
convicted - like this after all his years on the bench," said: "I
have to decide whether assumptions (clause) is to be applied," when
the hearing is brought back for direction next week.
Wass then reminded him that there had been two appeals since the case
was halted on October 7 and now. One, by Ibori's sister, and the
second, by Gohil.
She told the court that the Court of Appeal had ruled that the
'benefits ' of Okoronko be 're-determined,' while that of Gohil is
still pending at the Court of Appeal.
He said in view of the new twists, "It's going to be a three-hander
hearing," and "there's going to be a reassessment," of the benefits of
£21 million, which Udoamaka was originally assumed to have got from
his association with her brother's crimes. Though she did admit that
"it seems it's going to be a waste of public money for two cases
–Ibori and his sister- to be heard," she conceded that they had no
option, since the Court of Appeal had ruled that her benefits be

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