Former Delta State Governor, James Ibori, jailed in Britain for corruption, may appeal his conviction on the grounds that British police and lawyers involved in his case were themselves corrupt, a London court heard on Friday.
Ibori is serving a 13-year sentence after pleading guilty in 2012 to 10 -count charge of fraud and money-laundering, Reuters reported.
While in office, Ibori acquired luxury properties in Britain, the United States, South Africa and Nigeria. He is the most senior Nigerian politician to have been held to account for the corruption that has blighted Africa’s most populous nation.
His jailing in Britain, where he had laundered millions of pounds and sent his children to an expensive private school, was hailed as a high point in the international fight against graft and an important signal to other corrupt politicians.
But his lawyer, Ivan Krolick, told Southwark Crown Court on Friday that Ibori was “95 percent certain” to challenge his conviction in the Court of Appeal based on documents that have only recently been disclosed to the defence by the prosecution.
At the same hearing, Stephen Kamlish, a lawyer for Ibori associate and convicted money launderer, Bhadresh Gohil, said the documents showed there had been widespread police corruption followed by a cover-up that was still going on now.
The main allegation is that a police officer involved in the Ibori probe took payments for information in 2007 from a firm of private detectives working on Ibori’s behalf. At the time, Ibori had not been arrested and was still in Nigeria, but knew that British police was investigating his finances.
Kamlish said prosecution lawyers had known there was evidence of police corruption but had failed to disclose it to defence lawyers.