Nigerian politician to face court soon

DUBAI — The Dubai Public Prosecution recently referred leading Nigerian politician James Ibory to court for trial. Even though no date for the beginning of the trial has been set yet, Ibory is expected to appear before the Court of Appeal soon.

By Mary Nammour

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Published: Wed 15 Sep 2010, 12:25 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 4:41 PM

It is known that for persons wanted for extradition by other countries and who do presumably not have a criminal record here, the prosecution refers them to the Dubai Court of Appeal as it would be the court to hear their cases first hand. The Chief Judge then decides whether to extradite them or not.

Ibory has been in provisional custody for over four months as his bail was denied. He was arrested over money laundering charges here on May 1.

Dubai Police arrested Ibory following a warrant issued against him by the Interpol. He remains wanted for interrogation in the UK and Nigeria.

Counsel Ali Mousabeh, who is representing Ibory, said his client had to be hospitalised at some time during his detention without specifying though what his condition was.

Previously, Mousabeh said that a court in Nigeria had cleared his client of a $85-million fraud charge. “He has been acquitted of 172 counts laid against him by the Commission of Fighting Economic and Financial Crimes in Nigeria in 2007, which ranged from corruption, hijacking and blowing up a plane.”

He was also accused of corruption in a $290-million fraud case during his stint as the governor of Delta State for eight years from 1999 to 2007.

But the anti-corruption Nigerian police could not arrest him because of violent demonstrations in his support in his southern home city.

Mousabeh, in his bail plea, said his client was a frequent visitor to the UK and was never arrested, indicted or interrogated there.

He also said that his client did not commit any crime in the UAE and argued that the accusations against him in his home country were politically motivated.

Ibory was a major factor behind the rise of former president Umaru Yar’Adua in 2007. Umaru died a week before Ibory’s arrest in Dubai and Nigerian Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan took over the presidency vowing to fight corruption.

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