Former governor of Delta State, Chief James Onanefe Ibori and his associates’ prosecution before the Southwark Court in London suffered a major setback on Thursday.
Ibori is facing corruption charges that were preferred against him by the London Metropolitan Police.
The Director of Public Prosecution in the United Kingdom had at the last time the case came up before the court, applied to withdraw the charge against Ibori’s lawyer, Mr. Bhadresh Gohil.
Gohil had in his statement, indicted the London Metropolitan Police Officers that investigated Ibori, accusing them of complicity in bribery and corruption.
These information were contained in a statement signed by the media assistant to Ibori, Mr. Tony Eluemunor.
Eluemenor disclosed that the Crown Prosecutor, Ms Sasha Wass had submitted that the UK authorities were no longer interested in pursuing charge against Gohil which borders on his alleged attempt to pervert the cause of justice.
According to Eluemunor, ”Mr. Gohil had maintained in his allegation that Metropolitan Police Officers investigating James Ibori and others were involved in the bribery and corruption.
“Sasha Wass further stunned the court when she said she was not at liberty to disclose the reasons behind the Crown’s decision to drop the case. However, it is on record that in the run up to the hearings, Ms Wass was directly accused by Mr. Stephen Kamlish representing Gohil, of lying to the Court of Appeal and lying to His Honour Judge Testar at the Southwark Court and disobeying his order for the Crown to disclose evidence in their possession which include the bank statements of Detective Constable John McDonald to the Defence before the start of the trial.
“The Prosecution’s dropping of the case on Thursday will have a knock on effect on the confiscation case against Ibori and Gohil scheduled for May as Judge Testar has ordered that materials withheld from Ibori and associates be made available to their legal teams – including the lawyers of Christine Ebie and Udoamaka Onuigbo. Also, the defence lawyer, Kamlish, informed the Judge that he would ask the Court of Appeal to retry the case afresh, as though it would be handling a totally new case.
“This means that the earlier convictions may be overturned if such an appeal sails true.
“Ibori’s big win during Thursday’s proceedings is that Judge Testar immediately ordered that the all the material the prosecution had withheld from the defence be made available to Ibori’s and all his associates’ legal teams including those of Christine Ebie and Udoamaka Okoronkwo”.
He further stated that based on Prosecutions’ dropping of their case for want of evidence, Gohil has said he would take the case to the Appeal Court.
According to Eluemunor, Mr. Gohil, while reacting to the development, said: “I have always maintained my innocence in this matter. I always couldn’t understand how I or anybody could have been convicted based on DC McDonald’s assumptions. Today, I have been vindicated”.
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