Ibori Faults London Court Verdict; Sister Appeals

Chief James Onanefe Ibori has rejected the judgement of the Southwark Court London, delivered Tuesday June 1, 2010. This is because despite the Judge’s directive of last week that every charge must be proved beyond reasonable doubt, despite the failure of the Crown Prosecution to establish any proceeds of crime, despite the Prosecution’s failure to evidence any crime, it is difficult to

understand how his sister alone could have been found guilty of money laundering without proof by the London court.

Also, it is a fact that during the judge’s summing up last week, he expressely directed that the mortgage charges were “not safe” because the evidence presented by the the prosecution had been totally destroyed by the defence during cross-examination; this fact was even conceeded in open court by the prosecution.

It is as clear as daylight that a miscarriage of justice has been wrought, because though several persons were charged with the same allegations, only one person, was found guilty of such charges and others were declared innocent. Ibori is saying this because only his sister, among the three Ibori associates that faced trial, that has far been found guilty of the same charges over which others were freed.  Yet, no extra jot of evidence was brought against her.

It is a fact that she was the only one that exercised her right of not giving evidence during the trial; her legal team had decided that the Prosecution’s case against her was so weak that there was no need whatsoever for her to take the witness stand.  Ibori recalls for the record that his sister Mrs. Christine Ibori-Ibie, Ms. Udoamaka Okoronkwo and Ms. Adebimkpe Pogoson were faced with the same money laundering charges of counts one to four during the trial. The charges against the others were rightly dropped for want of evidence. The rest charges against Mrs. Ibie were mortgage-related. But in continuation of the political persecution against Ibori, his sister has now been found guilty were others were rightly found innocent. To Ibori, this is a clear notice that every member of his family is under the same political attack that has been buffeting him, and that the rules would be bent to do his family members in for all the accused should have been declared innocent.

Owing to this, Ibori has totally rejected the verdict returned by the jury against his sister because no evidence of any crime, corruption or money laundering was established against his sister. He said that the fact that she obeyed the advice of her lawyers to exercise her right not to mount the witness stand should not amount to a crime for which she would be found guilty on all counts. That she chose to remain silent should not be the reason why she should have been so punished, that is why her lawyers have served notice that they will appeal against the judgement.

Ibori said that though a mighty international attempt orchestrated from Nigeria is on to make his family members pay heavily for the public service he rendered to Delta state just because of crass politics, through distortion of facts and media lynching, he nevertheless remains confident that in the end, justice would be done and the innocent would not be unduly victimized; that is why the defence will stoutly appeal this case and ensure that real justice is done and this miscarriage of justice is not allowed to stand.

Signed: Tony Eluemunor

Media Assistant to Chief James Onanefe Ibori