Prosecuting Ibori in Nigeria is Unconstitutional and Human Right Abuse- Itse Sagay
LAGOS DECEMBER 5TH (URHOBOTODAY)-As rumour making the rounds about the retrial of Former Delta State Governor, Chief James Ibori in Nigeria after serving his jail term in United Kingdom, Chairman of President Muhammadu Anti Corruption Committee, Professor Itse Sagay has postulated that the retrial of Ibori in Nigeria after serving in United Kingdom is unconstitutional and amount to human right abuse.
Sagay, who spoke in his personal capacity and not as the chairman of President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption committee, said there was no need for prosecuting Iboro again because the former governor had already been punished and prosecuting him again could amount to human rights abuse.
According to him, “It will constitute double jeopardy because he was been punished according to the law and any attempt to arrest him and make him go through the process a second time will be unconstitutional.
Sagay is postulating the claim due to report making the rounds that Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is set to re-arrest and prosecute a former Governor of Delta State, Mr. James Ibori, who will complete his sentence in a prison in Britain on December 20, 2016, according to the Punch.
A 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 treasury.
Following his conviction in the UK, there were criticisms of the Nigerian justice system ,especially an Asaba High Court which had struck out 170 charges which the EFCC had brought against Ibori.
However, the EFCC took the matter to the Appeal Court where a three-man panel of justices on May 15, 2014, at the Benin Division of the Court of Appeal ruled that the ex- governor, who is currently serving a 13-year jail term in a London prison, has a case to answer.
The appellate court panel, led by Justice Ibrahim Saulawa, ordered that the case be re-assigned to another judge of the Federal High Court for continuation of trial.
The EFCC subsequently said in a statement in 2014 that the ex-governor would be re-arrested upon the completion of his prison sentence.
The EFCC statement read, “With this judgment, the coast is clear for Ibori to face trial in Nigeria upon the completion of his jail term in London.”
Attempts to speak with the EFCC spokesman, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, on Saturday proved abortive.
However, a source at the EFCC told a correspondent that the legal department of the commission would have to look into the matter again.
He said, “Indeed Ibori still has a case to answer but it will be reviewed and charges might be amended.”
Some of the possessions confiscated from the ex-governor include: a house in Hampstead, North London, worth £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; and a Mercedes-Benz Maybach 62 bought for €407,000 cash.