Ivan Krolic, the Counsel to a former Governor of Delta State, Chief James Onanefe Ibori, on Thursday told the Southwark Court in London that there may be no fair trial in the confiscation hearing of his client that is due to start in June at a Southwark Crown Court in London.
According to a press statement signed by Ibori’s Media Assistant, Tony Eluemunor, Krolic said this duringThursday’s a preliminary hearing preparatory to the confiscation trial.
He said there are established cases of corruption against the police and the crown prosecution counsels who investigated Ibori.
This, he said, has led to the dropping of every member of the entire Police and Crown
Prosecution teams that investigated Ibori and his associates.
Krolic notified the court that following the revelation that the Police involved in investigating Ibori for money laundering were themselves involved in corruption and were knowingly covered up by the Crown Prosecution, the integrity of the entire process has been put in doubt.
He said: “There are cases of abuse of process against the crown prosecution to deliberately manipulate the process to gain undue advantage and inflate the confiscation figure, which will require a stay of proceeding in this case to allow for the abuse of process to be dealt with.”
The trial Judge, His Honour Tomlinson, acknowledging the precarious situation of the Ibori case, especially the serious allegations of police corruption, which has led the Police authority itself to acknowledge the corruption charges and as a result to set up a review of the process and corruption allegations against its officers, noted: “There are a lot of perceptions and it is inevitable that the team involved in the investigation and prosecution be changed following these allegations.”
Putting the Judge on notice should the confiscation trial begin as scheduled while the application for crown and police abuse of process is held, Krolic said: “Our argument is that the whole process is infected and it will be wrong for the confiscation hearing to continue…the allegation is that the crown consistently and deliberately manipulated the system and forced James Ibori to plead guilty and inflate the figures (of the money involved) in the light of the serious allegation of police corruption in this case.”
Tomlinson replied: “I have an obligation to keep an open mind and keep this under constant review, and having also read the statement of James Ibori’s former Defence Counsel, Mr Nicholas Purnell QC, that the Crown Counsels misled him to cause his client, James Ibori, to plead guilty, there are potentials in the statements.
That notwithstanding, the June start date of the confiscation hearing may hold though the Judge alerted that “a number of potential hazards to this proceedings have been flagged off”.
Meanwhile, the confiscation hearing is due to start on June 6 at the Southwark Crown in London.