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June 18, 2008
An Appeal Court panel today turned down former Governor James Ibori’s application to have his seized passport released.

 The judges insisted that Ibori’s lawyers must provide a written address to the court to state his case. It adjourned to July 9 2008 for the submission of address. Last Tuesday, a high court judge in Kaduna declined Ibori's application for the release his passport.

Investigations by Saharareporters have revealed that Ibori had intended to travel to Dubai where two of his close associates, U.S. fugitive, Lulu Enobaifo, and his Miami-based money laundering front, Segun Fowora, were waiting to accompany him to China and South Africa. Both men traveled last Sunday on an Emirates flight from Lagos to Dubai. On the same flight was the convicted former governor of Bayelsa State, DSP Alamieyeseigha.

Also, Justice Adamu Bello of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja this morning refused the application brought by the former governor of Jigawa State, Senator Saminu Turaki. The application was filed in pursuit of the variation of his bail conditions and the release of his international passport and his Burkina Faso issued diplomatic passport.

 Meanwhile, a new fact has emerged over the appointment of a new spokesperson for the EFCC. Saharareporters has learned that former Governor Orji Kalu and former Ambassador Buba Marwa nominated Mr. Femi Babafemi who officially replaced Ositah Nwajah yesterday. Both Kalu and Marwa have been investigated by the EFCC for corruption.

One of Babafemi's reports posted on the SUN website in January 2006 is an interview with Senator Joseph Waku, titled "Waku warns: EFCC may destroy Nigeria". The carefully choreographed interview is part of a long litany of anti-EFCC sentiments in Babafemi's reportorial work. Senator Waku is a strong supporter of Mrs. Farida Waziri and they have worked together in the past to help shield corrupt former governors, including George Akume of Benue, from EFCC investigations.

 Babafemi's employer, The SUN, is also the subject of litigation in a Federal High Court. The EFCC had sought and obtained a court order to freeze some assets of the newspaper. EFCC affidavits claimed that much of the start-up funds for the SUN were proceeds of corruption perpetrated by Orji Kalu during his eight-year tenure as governor of Abia State. Kalu is currently facing corruption charges before a Federal High Court in Abuja.


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