The British Metropolitan Police investigators have stated that they never questioned any Delta State official about missing funds nor linked any property of the former governor, Chief James Ibori, as having been bought with the state’s money.
In the resumed hearing, in the suit on Ibori’s asset at the weekend, the man who led the investigation against the former governor, Police Detective Peter Clark, replied to a question: “I agree, however, we were unable to ask Delta State government because Delta State was uncooperative.”
The reply came after a series of questions were fired at Clark, a prime prosecution witness, in relation to Ibori’s property, having a link with Delta State funds in any way – and even in some of the charges Ibori had already pleaded guilty to.
Mr. Ivan Krolic, Ibori’s lead counsel in the asset confiscation hearing, had told the court: “In confiscation cases the issue for consideration before the court is not about any asset acquired but the sources of funds for the purchase of the asset.”
To make his point clearer, Clark stated: “When it comes to benefit in confiscation hearing, it is not about what the defendant buys but the source of the money used to buy what has been bought.”
Thus as the two weeks old asset confiscation was about to enter its final week, and hearing is gradually drawing to a close, the main British police financial investigator in the money laundering case against Ibori, may have admitted that he has not been able to directly link the source of funds for the purchase of the alleged Ibori assets to Delta State accounts.
In the case, the Crown Prosecutor’s Sasha Wass had interjected: “Ibori has pleaded guilty to money laundering and defrauding Delta State, the crown has concerns as to why QC Krolic is going through these matters the way he is.”
Krolic obliged her and reading a section of Police Detective Clark’s statement that deals with the purchase of a Maybach vehicle, a car alleged to have been bought by Ibori with funds stolen from Delta State, said: “The position of the defendant, James Ibori, is that, he admits purchasing the vehicle and that Stanhope is an account which he is a beneficial owner.”
He stopped for effect before continuing: “It is denied however, that the funds going into Stanhope were funds that came directly or indirectly from Delta State, but they came from very clear and genuine sources. There is no evidence showing any payment from Delta State.”
Then he took the police investigator through various bank accounts and statements, and said: “No money from Delta State is identified other than salary into GTB bank from the state paid by Oghoro.”
Drawing attention that this hearing is somewhat different from the one where Ibori pleaded guilty, Krolic argued: “This is Ibori’s confiscation hearing in 2013 and the defence is entitled to ask how the prosecution qualify their case. There is a big difference between a conviction and criminal benefit in confiscation and the judge is here to consider the sole issue of criminal benefit. This was the same thing that was considered in the case of (Terry) Waya. It is the crown’s burden to prove the benefit. The court can’t just fill in the blanks with what happened at other trials.”