‘How Ibori Was Arrested, Granted Bail in Dubai‘
THISDAY gathered that the bail conditions are – the surety must be a resident of Dubai and that he must not leave Dubai until the matter is finally resolved.
Details of how the ex-governor, who was declared wanted by the EFCC and also wanted in the UK in connection with ongoing trial of some of his associates have emerged.
Some security agents ostensibly working for Interpol came into Ibori’s hotel room by 9pm Wednesday saying that he was wanted in London.
When the former governor sought to know why he was wanted, the Interpol agents said it was over credit card fraud.
A statement by Ibori’s Media Assistant Mr. Tony Eluemunor said Ibori was arrested courtesy of a UK warrant, which he said did not disclose the crime for which he was arrested for.
Eluemunor while giving details of how the former governor was arrested and eventually granted bail said upon his (Ibori’s) response that he had not been to the UK since 2005, the Interpol agents modified the reason and said it was for theft.
“So Ibori said that as they were not sure of the charge, he would not go with them to London. So they took him to a police station instead,” Elemunor said. He said Ibori was yesterday taken to court and granted bail.
“Ibori has not been extradited to anywhere but is still in Dubai according to the bail terms,” his Media Assistant said.
According to Eluemunor, Ibori who insisted he is “presently being persecuted owing to (his) political belief,” urged his supporters, aides, friends and political associates not to be unduly bothered about the ordeal he is going through “as the rule of law is always there to protect any victim of persecution”.
Ibori has also accused his “political enemies in Nigeria” and their United Kingdom “co-conspirators of declaring him wanted over charges that have not yet been made public just to influence the outcome of the case against some of his associates in a London court”.
He said the case in question had gone on for months, and is on its “final stretch now and judgment should be given within days”. He said the prosecution had since closed its case while the defence would make their closing statement today.
He said it was for this reason that the EFCC and London Metropolitan Police had “renewed their malicious legal battering against (him) for no reason whatsoever”.
He said the two agencies were yet to categorically state the charges they have against him, whether individually or collectively.
“He asked his followers to take solace in that fact that those who denigrated his name by alleging that he was fleeing from the law, while he was actually under the protection of the Federal High Court Asaba ruling, will no longer make such a claim, because today, he walked out of a court on bail, his whereabouts not in doubt and no law officers on his trail.
“Today, the question where is Ibori, has been laid to rest. I am in Dubai and the world knows it,” he was quoted to have said.
Meanwhile, Chairman of the EFCC Mrs. Farida Waziri has said that the anti-graft agency is working with other security agencies such as Interpol and Met Police, UK on the possible extradition of Ibori.
Waziri, who gave this hint while fielding questions from some journalists in Abuja yesterday, expressed delight that the long arm of the law had eventually caught up with Ibori in far away Dubai.
The EFCC had last month declared Ibori wanted after weeks of failed efforts to get him to honour the commission’s invitation over fresh fraud allegations including a N44 billion scam.
The anti-graft agency had earlier secured a court warrant for his arrest and equally put him on a watch list.
Waziri said his arrest might not be unconnected with the search for him by Nigerian security agencies and an international warrant of arrest issued against him by the Met Police.
“Yes, we have been working on the former governor. It has been confirmed that Ibori was arrested by the Interpol. We have been exchanging information and interacting with the Interpol and the Met Police since we declared him wanted. International warrant of arrest was also issued.
“Yesterday (Wednesday), he was arrested and he is undergoing interrogation with them there. The man in charge of his case in the UK has dispatched detectives to Dubai and we are sending our own people to join them to start the process of his extradition.
“We also have our cases against him here pending. That is the good news,” Waziri said.
According to her, “We have a case against him in the Appeal Court Benin, Edo State, the 170 count charges. We appealed, the case came up and he was not there. Two, we have fresh charges for which we want to arraign him totally different from the earlier charges. There are other charges against him which we don’t want to reveal for now.
“As I told you, we have been working very closely but quietly with the Met police. We have been sharing information and we have issues which we don’t want to go into. We are talking with the Interpol, the Met police and the Dubai police whose custody he is right now.”
She continued: “My initial reaction when I heard of Ibori’s arrest was that of excitement, and surprise too. Surprise because somebody said he had gone to Ghana. Some people also said he is still somewhere in Delta, some said in his village in Warri. My mind never went to Dubai.
“But the Met Police have a relationship with Dubai Police. They told me that if he is in Dubai they will get him that it will be easier to track him down. If he had gone to places like China or Japan, then it would have been difficult.”
She assured Nigerians that the EFCC is committed to prosecuting him “without leaving any loose end,” as the agency has a case against him and also have witnesses who will nail him.
The former governor was first arrested by the EFCC under former Chairman Nuhu Ribadu on December 12, 2007 for alleged corruption and money laundering while in office.
He was later arraigned at the Federal High Court sitting in Kaduna on a 103-count charge all bordering on concealment and money laundering. The EFCC later slammed another 26-count charge against him.
Ibori was initially denied bail and spent the Christmas of 2007 and New Year eve of 2008 in detention.
However, the former governor was later granted bail.
Following an application by his lawyer for the transfer of the case to Delta State where the alleged offences were committed, the case was transferred to the Federal High Court in Asaba, Delta State.
Justice Marcel Awokulehin of the court on November 29, 2009, cleared Ibori of all charges of fraud and money laundering preferred against him by the EFCC.
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