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Ibori London Case latest, Southwark Crown Court adjourns till Feb 2010 for trial

November 23, 2009

Image removed.Members of the Nigeria Liberty Forum (NLF) and other Nigerians turned up at the Southwark Crown Court today in London today for the scheduled hearing of the money-laundering case against James Ibori's associates. 

But they were too late: the case had been heard yesterday instead, and adjourned till  February 16 2010. 

The stunned and disappointed Nigerians learned that in order to pre-empt their participation, defense counsels had pushed for the hearing to continue in chambers yesterday, 23 November, the same day the Asaba case was to have been decided.  As Saharareporters reported on Sunday 22 November, Judge Awokulehin again voided the scheduled "judgment," on Sunday, by a text message to the lawyers involved.  He adjourned the event to December 4.

Although details of the yesterday's events in London yesterday are still largely unknown, it is apparent that the outcome of the Federal High Court ruling in Asaba case is being seriously pushed by Ibori's lawyers as being a critical factor in what happens in Southwark. Also, it was revealed that the Judge Harding is retiring in December 2009 and prefers another judge to take over the case.

It is known, however, that Crown Prosecution Service lawyers successfully got judge Christopher Hardy to accept that the trial of the case, which involves Ibori's sister, his mistress and his secretary, would commence in February 2010.  A separate case involving his wife, Theresa Nkoyo, and London  lawyer, Bhardesh Gohil is scheduled to start in January 2010.

The latest development is coming on the heels of new revelations that some of the witnesses being sent to the London trial from Nigeria were handpicked by James Ibori.  A source familiar about the politics of the selection of witnesses to travel to London told Saharareporters that a certain Inspector Sunday Musa, the police prosecutor who help convict Ibori in the 1995 trial at the Bwari Area Court Abuja, had since switched sides and now works for Ibori. Musa, who is with the EFCC and reportedly investigated "certain aspects" of Ibori's money laundering case, is considered unfit to be a witness against Ibori's associates in London.

Inspector Sunday Musa, our source revealed, had gone before the election tribunal in Delta State furring the case trial as a witness to Great Ogboru, but when he was cross-examined by Chief Gani Fawehinmi, Sunday Musa changed his story and claimed that he never prosecuted Ibori.  Instead, he said the case he had prosecuted was that of "Shuiabu Ayangbe."

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