A British prosecutor has launched a fresh attempt to confiscate tens of millions of pounds stolen from oil-producing Delta State by Chief James Onanefe Ibori, who governed the state from 1999 to 2007. Ibori pleaded guilty to 10 counts of fraud and money-laundering at London’s Southwark Crown Court in 2012 and was sentenced to 13 years behind bars. Having served half of his sentence in pre- and post-trial detention, Ibori was released from jail in December 2016 and is now back in Nigeria, dictating who governs his state and senatorial district at every election cycle.
A first attempt to confiscate Ibori’s assets was made in 2013 in Britain. The process was however aborted after three weeks of hearings because of unresolved legal disputes. On Thursday, January 16, 2020, prosecution counsel Jonathan Kinnear began listing assets that Britain seeks to confiscate from Ibori and return to the Nigerian treasury, Reuters reports. The total value of the known proceeds of Ibori’s crimes came to 117 million pounds ($153 million), Kinnear said. However, only a fraction of that sum is likely to be recoverable.