Wednesday, June 2, 2010

London Trial: Ibori's Sister, Christine Ibie Ibori, Found Guilty And Remanded In Prison

Guilty: Christine Ibie-Ibori

The 12-member jury deliberating on the money laundering trial of associates of former governor of Delta State, James Ibori, today found his sister, Christine Ibie-Ibori, guilty of all charges of money laundering and mortgage fraud. The jury however acquitted Ibori's former assistant, Adebimpe Pogoson, of the charges against her. Also, the jury did not announce its verdict pertaining to Ibori's mistress, Mrs. Udoamaka Okoronkwo. A legal source in London told Saharareporters that the jury is continuing deliberations over Ms. Okoronkwo’s case. The jury went home today unable to reach a verdict, but our source disclosed that a verdict on Okoronkwo could come as early as tomorrow.

Christine Ibie-Ibori was found guilty on all nine counts of money laundering and mortgage fraud. She was detained as soon as the court rose today and sent to prison. The Southwark Crown Court Judge, Christopher Hardy, is awaiting a psychiatric assessment report on her before setting her prison sentence. Efforts by her lawyers to secure her bail were denied.

A legal source told Saharareporters that the jury’s decision regarding Udoamaka Okoronkwo would determine if Ibori’s former mistress is to stand trial with Ibori's wife, Theresa Nkoyo, and his London-based lawyer, Bhadresh Gohil. The prosecution of Mrs. Ibori and Mr. Gohil will commence later this month in the same court. A third trial involving Mr. Gohil, James Ibori, former Governor Victor Attah of Akwa Ibom, and two UK citizens as well as the former private secretary to Umaru Yar'adua, Mr. David Edevbie, will follow later in the year.

UK authorities are currently seeking the extradition of Ibori from Dubai to the UK. A London-based lawyer told Saharareporters that, if the extradition succeeds, Ibori’s trial in the UK on the laundering of Delta State assets worth £70 million pounds, “may well be an international test case in the effort to curtail the illicit outflow of funds from Africa.”

Mr. Ibori remains under arrest in Dubai awaiting extradition hearings by a UAE court.


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