Former governor of Delta State, James Onanefe Ibori has completed his prison terms in the United Kingdom. But he is yet to be a free man, as he was immediately re-arrested.
TheNEWS learnt that Ibori jailed 13 years in April 2012 by a Southwark Crown court in London was released by prison authorities on 22 January.
He was released from Her Majesty’s Prison in Bedford, outside of London, where he finished his prison term. He was also initially at the Long Lartin Prison in Worcestershire.
“He is out of here”, a prison source at Bedford confirmed on Tuesday night.
Our sources said Ibori was re-arrested to face another charge, which borders on the confiscation of his ill-gotten assets, estimated to be about 250 million pounds. The case initially billed for May, will now come up in June, sources told us this afternoon.
We cannot however confirm Ibori’s new prison.
Fifty-seven year old Ibori was jailed for using UK financial institutions to launder hundreds of millions of pound sterling he stole from public funds in Delta State.
His journey to jail began with his arrest On 13 May 2010 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates under Interpol arrest warrants, issued from United Kingdom courts and enacted by the Metropolitan Police.
He had earlier made a mockery of Nigeria’s legal system, walking away free from the multi-billion fraud charge levelled against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, including the $15 million bribe he offered the then EFCC chairman, Nuhu Ribadu.
Ibori’s case and extradition became one of the longest, most complex and expensive operations mounted by Scotland Yard in recent years.
Prosecutors alleged that companies owned by Ibori and his family were beneficiaries from the sale of state assets, including shares in Econet, a GSM telephone operator, as well as crude oil deliveries.
Before his conviction, UK juries two years earlier found James Ibori’s sister, Christine Ibie-Ibori and his mistress, Udoamaka Okoronkwo, guilty on counts of money laundering, in a verdict delivered at the Southwark Crown Court, London.