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Thursday, November 30, 2023

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Nigeria: Convicted Politician Ibori Faces UK Seizure Order

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A state prosecutor urged the London court on Thursday that it should order the seizure of over $129 million from Nigerian politician James Ibori, a convicted criminal who served years in prison in Britain.

Ibori, a former governor of the oil-producing Delta State in southern Nigeria, was extradited from Dubai to London in 2011 and accused of laundering a fortune that had been obtained through corruption. He was sentenced to 13 years in prison after entering a guilty plea to 10 counts of fraud and money laundering in 2012. Britain praised this decision as a turning point in the fight against corruption.

Britain is a global money-laundering centre thanks to its highly developed banking and legal systems, as well as its thriving real estate market, but the foreign kleptocrats it attracts are rarely brought to justice, and Ibori’s case continues to be an anomaly.

Ibori should have to forfeit a total of 101.5 million pounds, lead prosecutor Jonathan Kinnear told the court, and if he didn’t, he should receive a sentence of between five and ten years in prison.

Ibori returned to Nigeria in 2017 after serving half of his prison sentence in pre- and post-trial custody, as is typical, and did not appear at the court on Thursday. He intended to file an appeal against the confiscation order, he said.

Ibori is still a powerful figure and has many connections in Nigerian politics. Ibori has been welcomed twice to the presidential residence by President Bola Tinubu, who took office in May, along with other former governors.

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