The long-drawn corruption trial of the immediate past governor of Delta State, Chief James Ibori in London may be resolved through plea bargain.
Unless there is a change of heart by either the London Metropolitan Police or Ibori, the agreement may be concluded over the next 24hours.
It was gathered last night that all that is now left the vetting of the plea bargain agreement.
A source close to the deal said: “Apart from the basic fact that such a thing will only come into being through a court proceeding, one would be right to say the plea bargain between Ibori and the London Metropolitan Police is already a done deal. It has been discussed, agreed upon, the terms already settled; all that remains is a court pronouncement. “
According to the source, the seven years of the investigation and trial of Ibori has taken a heavy toll on both the prosecution and the accused.
The police investigation, involving extensive travelling round the globe, is said to have cost the British tax payer over £14 million and is bound to cost more should the trial last the whole hog.
Ibori himself, sources said, is beginning to show signs of fatigue – as he has been attempting to fight off multiple suits at the same time – in Nigeria, Dubai and now Britain, both for himself and some of his associates.
The legal fees are said to be outrageous for him.
The Federal High Court Asaba, had ruled that the EFCC case filed there lacked any evidence – and they had nothing beyond what EFCC fed them.
Ibori was said to have been at first opposed the plea bargain option but his lawyers told him that the British jurisdiction had changed considerably since the war on terrorism began.
In more advanced criminal justice systems like the US, UK and Japan, plea bargain enjoys a prominent role. Its use is actively sought by the parties more directly involved in criminal trials. These are the Courts, the Prosecution and the Defence as it brings a quick end to a trial –cutting out unnecessary delays and prohibitive costs.
It is also a quick way for the courts to dispose of cases, which could otherwise have been very long drawn, time consuming and with potential for erroneous judgements. For the prosecution, plea bargaining gives them the opportunity of securing convictions particularly in instances where a conviction is highly desired, yet the outcome of a full trial is unpredictable or tricky. “
This may have influenced Ibori to end lingering court defences across three continents.
Courtesy The Nation