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James Ibori: Only portion of $153m loot can be returned to Nigeria, says UK prosecutors

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A NEW legal attempt has been launched on Thursday by British prosecutors to confiscate tens of millions of pounds stolen from Delta State by the then state governor, James Ibori.

Ibori who was governor from 1999 to 2007 had pleaded guilty to 10-count charges of laundering of state funds in Britain and had received a 13-year jail sentence of which he served in pre- and post-trial detention.

Although he was released from jail in December 2016 and is now back in Nigeria, it seems he might lose everything to the United Kingdom and the Nigerian government.

According to Jonathan Kinnear, prosecution counsel at Southwark Crown Court who had listed assets that Britain seeks to confiscate from Ibori and return to Nigerian public funds, “only a portion of the 117 million pounds ($153 million) proceeds from his crime is likely to be recoverable.”

Earlier in 2013, a first attempt was made in Britain to confiscate his assets, however, it was aborted weeks later due to unresolved legal disputes.

As a governor in the oil-rich state, Ibori, 57 amassed a portfolio of luxury properties in Nigeria, London, Washington, Houston, and Johannesburg and traveled all over the world, staying in the most expensive hotels and spending lavishly in luxury stores.

Reuters also reported that Ibori had been previously convicted of theft after he was caught trying to steal from chain Wickes in London as a shop assistant during his younger years.

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The new case is expected to last about four weeks.

 

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