The Royal Court of Justice on the Strand in London, Thursday, threw out an appeal by former Governor of Delta State, James Ibori, to have his 13 years jail term for money laundering slashed, citizen journalism website Sahara Reporters is reporting.
Two justices of the appellate court dismissed Mr. Ibori’s appeal for want of merit.
On April 2012, a Southwark Crown Court in South London jailed Mr. Ibori for 13 years for embezzling more than $250 million from the treasury of the Delta State between 1999 and 2007 when he served as governor.
Just like when he was sentenced, Sahara Reporters said a retinue of his supporters thronged the courthouse wearing T-shirts calling for his freedom.
Mr. Ibori was first convicted in 1991 of stealing from shop, alongside his wife, where he worked in the U.K. The following year, he was convicted of possession of stolen credit card.
After serving his brief term in London, he returned to Nigeria, the following year, and aligned with the then ruling military junta led by Sani Abacha.
He brushed aside a similar conviction of theft in a Bwari Area council – near Abuja – court to become governor of the oil rich Delta State in 1999 following the return of democratic rule in Nigeria.
He went ahead to serve as governor of the state for eight years.
A Nigerian judge, Mercel Awokulehin, had before his trial in England, thrown out the corruption case filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, against Mr. Ibori.
Petty thief with millionaire lifestyle
According to Sasha Wass, Ibori’s lead prosecutor, Mr. Ibori was a petty thief who “lived and behaved like a millionaire.”
She detailed to the judge how the former governor started off as a petty thief who stole from his employers in London and “went on to live the lifestyle of a property tycoon, living like royalty.”