….as case resumes in London Friday.
Today (Friday October 7th) the Chief James Onanefe Ibori London trial resumes at the Southwark Crown Court in London under His Honour David Tomlinson to enable the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) led by Jonathon Kinnear and Mike Newbold to set out its position in relation to the recent National Crime Agency (NCA) Review. In a press statement of Thursday 6th October, Ibori’s Media Assistant, Tony Eluemunor, said that the Review was an internal investigation into the allegations from Ibori’s counsel that some people who investigated and prosecuted Ibori and his associates, were corrupt and that the CPS erred terribly by withholding pertinent materials from the Defence Team and even outrightly misled the court.
Eluemunor called this Review a scandalous ‘whitewash’ that it is deeply flawed and cannot be sustained in any free and fair trial even as reasons for the cover up allegation has been established. For instance, it is now totally clear that the NCA, which investigated the corruption allegation against the Police officers, is funded by the Department for International Development (DFID), the same body that funded the original Ibori and Gohil investigations. The same DFID also funded the CPS (the prosecutors), so it is difficult for a DFID-funded body to indict a sister DFID funded body, especially after it has been established that the same DFID signed an agreement with Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) that it will have a first line payment of USD$25 million from any monies confiscated from Ibori, before even a penny is repatriated to Nigeria, if Ibori’s conviction is achieved in any way. So there is a clear conflict of interest as the DFID, through its various arms, has been engaged in a bounty hunt.
Moreover, the NCA is the same body which over sees the Proceeds of Corruption section where DC McDonald worked when he investigated Ibori. Thus, NCA would be effectively investigating itself and clearing itself prematurely despite continuing and outstanding disclosure, because that McDonald is tainted over corruption charges and has been as a result, dropped from the Ibori and its related cases.
Ibori’s counsel will attack the report of that tainted Review because the CPS has no basis to suggest that the convictions of Ibori, Gohil and others are ‘safe’. This is the function of the Court of Appeal. The CPS has tried to prejudice the defendants’ position in the public domain by making that claim, there by playing its usual game of trying to manipulate the court.
Eluemunor condemned the CPS’ stand that its report should be kept away from the media. “This is another attempt at media manipulation because the mass media should be entitled to receive the disclosed and highly incriminating material and to expose the magnitude of the corruption in these cases so that people should judge the level of malfeasance involved in the judicial persecution that Ibori and his associates have been facing for years now.
Most of all, Ibori’s team hereby calls for independent investigation (public enquiry) into the police corruption and prosecutorial misconduct and why it was permitted to happen, including the systematic misleading of the various courts and the Court of Appeal. This is the only way to expose the extent of the corruption and to ensure that it does not happen in future.
As the CPS has conceded to the filing of formal Appeals by the various defendants, Ibori’s former lawyer, Mr. Bhadresh Gohil has already filed his appeal. It is expected that Ibori, Lambertus De Boer, Danny McCaan and others will be filing their separate appeals soon. This will result in the confiscation proceedings being postponed until the conclusion of the Appeal hearings.
The NCA Review was ordered by the Director of Public Prosecutions – Alison Saunders. The report accepted that there are exceptionally serious allegations of police corruption and prosecutorial misconduct, including fundamental nondisclosure at the heart of the Ibori and Gohil prosecutions.
Thus, it is now clear from the material, that the corruption, prosecutorial misconduct and nondisclosure were a central feature in the original Ibori and Gohil trials. Eluemunor charged that “In order to cover this up, UK prosecutors Sasha Wass QC, Esther Shutzer Weissman, David M. Williams and Sian Davies conspired with MPS anti-corruption investigators to criminally pervert the course of justice and falsely prosecute Bhadresh Gohil claiming that he had made up the allegations of corruption, whilst knowing all along that he was innocent”. But July 15th this year, the case against Gohil collapsed in court and he was paid £20,000 as compensation. The BBC celebrated the story, with a dispatch, entitled, ‘Ibori’s lawyer awarded 20,000 Pounds … as British prosecution admits manipulation charge”. The report continued: “The extraordinary payment is just the latest twist in a legal case that had led to investigations into allegations of police corruption and a cover-up of key evidence”.
The payment to Gohil was a direct result of the pressure the mainstream British media from the BBC to The Guardian, London Times, The Mail, The Telegraph, among others, mounted on the London Metropolitan Police and the courts to ensure that allegations of injustice and court manipulation against the Police were fully looked into so that the cherished British jurisprudence tradition was maintained. Now, all the investigators and the prosecutors in the Ibori case as well as all of its associated cases, especially the lead prosecutor, Ms. Sasha Wass, Queen’s Counsel (QC, the British equivalent of Senior Advocate of Nigeria) and Esther Schutzer-Weissmann were unceremoniously dismissed from the Ibori case in March 2016. The case was removed from the Met Police and handed to the National Crime Agency.
The CPS recently disclosed substantial material evidencing the corruption, the gravest form of prosecutorial misconduct and abuse in the Ibori and Gohil and linked cases. This disclosure process is continuing with further material being released. It is therefore completely flawed to suggest that the convictions remain safe. Eluemunor said that was why the CPS recently blocked the disclosure of this highly damaging material to the media to hide the police misdeeds. The cover-up is so extreme that its purpose was to hide the gross misconduct of the CPS, Wass, Weissman and Williams/Davies in the original trials and the ensuing confiscation proceedings.
Eluemunor added: “The NCA review fails to address the investigative failures in the Ibori and Gohil and V Mobile trials, the blatant lies and exaggerations to the various courts including the Court of Appeal. These issues will now become the subject of further disclosure applications within the Appeal Courts”.
Bhadresh Gohil has maintained his innocence from the outset. There was simply no basis to prosecute him in law or in fact.