Former Governor of Delta state was yesterday sentenced to a 13 year jail term by Judge Anthony Pitts of the Southwark Crown Court in the United Kingdom.
The judge said, “I recognize that there is another side to the man James Ibori but I am not the proper person to judge your achievements and failings as a governor that is up to the people of Delta state”. He also noted that the court was unable to establish adequately how much Ibori stole and in his words, “Ibori’s loot is unquantifiable.”
Judge Pitts said that the fact that Ibori had pleaded guilty to the 10-count charge of fraud, money laundering and corruption put at about $250 million, his sentence would be reduced to 13 years as against 24 years he would have served and this plea saved British tax payers the expense of trying him. “I will give him 50 per cent discount from the number of years he will serve in prison. You are to serve half of that, and from that half it will be further reduced to 625 days between Dubai and UK detention,” Pitts told the court.
Ibori’s trial cost the UK government about £40,000 a week and therefore efforts must be made to recover everything, recoup the money spent on trial before repatriating the rest to the Nigerian government. Before his sentence would be completed, it is expected that the court would have recovered all the looted money and confiscated his property in the UK before handing him over to the UK Boarder Agency (UKBA) for deportation to Nigeria.