James Ibori, former governor of Delta State, has vowed to appeal the decision of a UK court which ordered the confiscation of £101.5 million allegedly linked to him.
Delivering the judgement on Friday after “factual findings”, David Tomlinson, a judge at Southwark Crown Court, said Ibori should pay the sum immediately or face an eight-year jail sentence.
Reacting in a statement posted on his Facebook page, the former governor said the UK court’s hearing was difficult to comprehend and accept.
He said despite several court hearings over the years and “evidence of police corruption”, he still kept believing that justice and fairness would eventually triumph.
He added that while he has accepted his fate “despite the inability of the British prosecutors to show any evidence whatsoever of monies defrauded or indeed missing from Delta state”, he would appeal the judgment.
“The order made today was to be paid immediately, this was made in the full knowledge that it could take many months to actually realise the sale of many of these assets,” the statement reads.
“There is an eight-year default sentence, which means that if I do not cooperate and pay nothing at all, then the prosecution can apply for the imposition of the default sentence. However, as the prosecution already has a restraint order over the assets – the situation of my not cooperating or paying will not arise.
“However, an issue arises if my restrained assets are sold, and the total realised from the sale does not equal the amount in the order, then the prosecution can still apply for part of the default sentence to be applied, but they could only ask for a sliding scale reduction of the eight years default sentence based on the amounts that remain outstanding.
“If such an application were to be made it would be vigorously contested. In the normal course of events, any talk of a default sentence would normally be stayed until any outstanding Appeal has been concluded.
“The judge, in this case, appears to have cast aside any pretence of impartiality and has made an order which is both wholly unrealistic and unrealisable.
“He has completely disregarded any arguments, evidence or expert witnesses in my favour. It was apparent during these last two days that he has forgotten many of the important elements of the case which are unsurprising as it almost two years since the case concluded. It has taken him two years to write this judgment and in the interim he has presided over hundreds of cases, but I refuse to make excuses for him.
“At this point in time words fail me and so the question for me as I take my case to the court of appeal, is, if I continue to believe that I may finally get some Justice is this the definition of madness? I know one thing for sure, that if I do not go to the Court of Appeal to contest this outrageous Order then my people will definitely say that I am a madman!”