Search Site: OnlineNigeria


Ibori offered us N1.8bn bribe - EFCC

Posted by By KENNY ASHAKA, Kaduna on 2007/12/13 | Views: 2549 |

Ibori offered us N1.8bn bribe - EFCC

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Thursday made a shocking revelation at the Federal High Court sitting in Kaduna, where former governor of Delta State, Chief James Onanefe Ibori, was slammed with a 103 count charge for alleged money laundering offences.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Thursday made a shocking revelation at the Federal High Court sitting in Kaduna, where former governor of Delta State, Chief James Onanefe Ibori, was slammed with a 103 count charge for alleged money laundering offences.

According to the EFCC counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, Ibori is an ex-convict, who was jailed twice in London , the United Kingdom .
The EFCC lawyer made the disclosure while opposing the oral application for bail proposed by the counsel to the accused, Joseph Daudu (SAN).

The EFCC also averred, in the charge filed at the Federal High Court, Kaduna, presided over by Justice Mohammed Lawal Shuaibu, that Ibori made cash payment of the sum of $15 million dollars to officials of the EFCC to influence their investigations, a charge it said is punishable under section 15(2)(b) of the Money Laundering (prohibition) Act 2004.

Ibori and his mistress, Miss Udoamaka Okoronkwo, are being accused along with three companies, Mer Engineering Nigeria Limited, Bainenox Limited and Sagicon Nigeria Limited of laundering a total of N10.08 billion, belonging to the Delta State government.

Of the N10.08 billion allegedly laundered by Ibori, N83 million was allegedly found in Udoamaka’s personal account. Ibori was accused of using N8.02 billion to buy shares in Afribank Limited as well as laundering N2.07 billion, using several proxies, including Prime Chamber owned by the current deputy governor of Delta State, Prof. Agbe Otuama.

The accused persons were brought into the Federal High Court, Kaduna premises in an ash Peugeot vehicle with Nasarawa registration number, AA 698NNN. Ibori, who wore Niger Delta attire without the matching cap looked unruffled.
The former governor and Miss Okoronkwo, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges read to them.
In opposing the application for bail brought by Joseph Daudu (SAN), who led a team of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN), including Chief Alex Iziyon, EFCC counsel, Rotimi Jacobs submitted that the commission has facts to prove that Ibori was not a man to be granted bail.

For instance, he alleged, “we invited the accused (Chief Ibori) to come and make a statement and he refused until we arrested him yesterday”, (Wednesday) adding “he (Ibori) has a criminal record.
“We trailed him and he ran into Kwara State Government Lodge. We have been looking for the accused person. If an accused has a previous criminal record, you don’t grant him bail. Based on the factual situation, your lordship can order that he brings the request for bail, through a written affidavit.
“Application of this nature ought not to be made orally. There is no way they can do it without deposing to an affidavit”, he said.

Daudu, in his argument for bail, prayed the court to invoke the principles upon which courts grant bail, saying it must take note of the nature of the offence and the severity of the punishment.
He submitted that since all the 103-count charges were brought under the Money Laundering Act 2003 and 2004 and none of them carries death sentence, but imprisonment, the offence is bailable.
Daudu argued that none of the punishment laid out in section 14(1) exceeded five years imprisonment and that there was furthermore no proof of evidence attached to the charges to enable the judge assess the prosecution’s strength of evidence.

“It is a fundamental flaw. This is a plus in favour of the application for bail. This mere allegation is a constitutional right that presumes the innocence of the accused persons. The authorities are in favour of bail being granted where there is no proof.”

He cited the case of Adegbite vs the Commissioner of Police, Musa vs the Commissioner of Police and Abiola vs the Commissioner of Police and said they are judicial precedence that favours bail.
He said: “The prosecution says they have closed investigations. If that is the case, the granting of bail to the accused will not jeopardize anything. For instance, Dokubo was refused bail because he was a greater security risk. In this case, there is no risk.

“The accused persons will not fail to present themselves in court. They will not jump bail. Even EFCC will attest to that. He has been on their bail and has not jumped bail.”
But the EFCC counsel, however, fired back, submitting that the story of how Chief Ibori was trailed and how he ran into the Kwara government lodge was yet to be told, adding that the submission of the counsel was not enough to justify his client’s bail.

“The onus is first of all on the accused persons to put something before the court. The section quoted by my learned SAN is not absolute. The Supreme Court interpreted it in the Dokubo’s case. Proof of evidence is not automatic”, he submitted.

He cited Alamieyeseigha vs FGN and section 74 of the Evidence Act and argued that when a charge is being filed before the court, there is no need for proof of evidence.
“The accused made his final statement last night. We should therefore not be punished for obeying the law, which says prosecute offenders within 48 hours. We can supply the proof within two days,” he said.
Rotimi said that the case of Adegbite and Musa vs Commissioner of Police, Dokubo vs FRN, Alamieyeseigha vs FRN and Abiola vs FRN were not relevant since the accused were not brought under summary trial.
Justice Shuibu then adjourned the case till December 17 to enable him study the cases cited before ruling on the bail application.

Before the adjournment, however, a drama ensued in which the defence counsel told the court that the EFCC had arraigned an innocent person before the court.
Ibori’s mistress had complained to Daudu that she was not the accused person mentioned in the charge sheet and that whereas her name is Udoamaka Onuigbo, the person accused of money laundering offences by the EFCC is Udoamaka Okoronkwo.
Daudu quickly drew the attention of the judge to the fact that a “wrong innocent person has been brought to court.”

Rotimi submitted that section 147 of the Criminal Procedure Acts does not alter anything even if the name was wrongly brought against someone who the commission has evidence against.
Justice Shuaibu, however, discountenanced the two arguments and ordered a continuation of the case.

Read Full Story Here.... :
Leave Comment Here :

Add Comment

* Required information
Captcha Image

Comments (0)

No comments yet. Be the first!