Britain’s state prosecution agency has said that the conviction of former Delta State Governor, James Ibori, remains valid in spite of evidence that a British police officer took bribes during the investigation of his case. Lawyers representing the jailed former governor had alleged serious misconduct by Britain’s prosecuting authorities.
The allegations include that the prosecution team failed to properly disclose information to the defence in relation to alleged corruption by a British police officer involved in the investigation and that it made misleading statements in court. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said on Thursday that while the information “should have been disclosed to the defence,” that did not call into question the validity of the convictions of Ibori and others. This is sequel to an internal review of the case which lasted months after it (CPS) said in May that it had found “material to support the assertion that a police officer received payment in return for information.” One of Ibori’s associates, who has been convicted of money-laundering, Bhadresh Gohil, had also alleged that the judicial process was tainted because prosecutors had covered up evidence of police corruption. Ibori’s lawyer, Jonathan Kinnear, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the agency’s latest position. Gohil’s lawyer, however, said that he could not comment for legal reasons. Ibori was governor of oil-producing Delta State from 1999 to 2007 and is serving a 13-year sentence in a British prison after pleading guilty in 2012 to 10 counts of fraud and money-laundering. He is the most senior Nigerian politician to have been held to account for the corruption. His conviction in Britain was seen as a high point in efforts to fight corruption in Nigeria.