Ibori to UK: You can’t claim ignorance of DFID’s sponsorship of my trial, conviction

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By Soni Daniel, Northern Region Editor

ABUJA Former governor of Delta State, Chief James Ibori, yesterday, described as false and shocking the claim by the British government that it was unaware of alleged funding of his investigation and conviction by the Department for International Development, DfID.

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It will be recalled that while on an official trip to Nigeria last week, UK’s Minister for International Development, Mr. James Wharton, had told the media that his country was not aware of what the Nigerian media had written about DfID’s role in Ibori’s trial.

However, Ibori’s media aide, Mr. Tony Eluemunor, in a statement released in Abuja, yesterday, expressed shock and indignation over the minister’s claim of ignorance over the role played by DfID in the former governor’s ordeal.

Eluemunor said the minister could not have been ignorant of such details since his attention had been drawn to the allegations several times, the last being as recent as August 21, 2016.

The Media aide said one of such information was contained in documents already at the disposal of the minister and the DfID.

According to the media aide to the former governor, some of the documents are contained in separate letters written by Bert de Boer against conviction in the V Mobile Case.

He said: “Mr. Lambertus de Boer wrote in the e-mail ‘Dear Mr. Wharton, Re: 1. Department for International Development’s Role in UK Prosecution of Ibori Cases and V-Mobile Case : James Ibori, Bhadresh Gohil, Lambertus de Boer & Daniel McCann (& others) and Police Corruption/Prosecutorial Misconduct (collectively known as: ‘DfIDgate’)

“The world has long known that the bedrock of the British judicial system has always been its openness, transparency and that a defendant is innocent until proven guilty. It is excellent for all those concerned that the British government, via a senior minister in the Department for International Development, has chosen to make it clear to the world that corruption in an investigative and prosecution team will not be tolerated.

“What surprises the world is that it has taken the British government so long to make this statement.’’

Eluemunor quoted Bert de Boer as writing to Mr. Wharton, saying: “I write to apprise you as an elected official and/or as someone responsible for the proper functioning and/or oversight of (a) the UK’s humanitarian aid agency – The Department for International Development (DfID) and/or b) the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) in relation to the ongoing developments relating to the controversial DfID funding and pioneering MPS’s UK prosecution of James Ibori, the former Governor of Delta State, Nigeria and various linked case(s), including mine, known as the V Mobile case.”

“It is important for you to note that while I do not oppose the fight on corruption, in emerging markets or anywhere for that matter, the issue with my case and the linked Ibori cases is that: The MPS Proceeds of Corruption Unit (‘POCU’) investigations were flawed— proper disclosure was not provided as expected by every defendant in the British legal system.”

“DfID was and remains completely conflicted, holding roles on steering committees, paymasters/investors with Ibori through CDC etc.— DfID’s wide ranging role as funder of the Ibori cases and V Mobile case was withheld~ DfID’s and their subsidiary, CDC Group plc’s investments with James Ibori were withheld/hidden and never investigated~ MPS POCU corruption now confirmed by the CPS to the Appeal Court~ and serious prosecutorial misconduct misleading both the Crown and Appeal Courts.”

The letter continued: “Over the past six months, much about the police corruption and prosecution misconduct has emerged, particularly through the recently aborted Bhadresh Gohil Perversion of Justice (“PoJ”) prosecution in January 2016.

‘’Post this case at the unilateral request of the Director of Public Prosecutions, the National Crime Agency (“NCA”) has been appointed to undertake a comprehensive review (including the safety of the convictions) of the Ibori cases and the V Mobile case~ to consider whether adequate disclosures were made to the various defendants and to the Crown and Appeal Courts and other possible directions.”

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