The United Kingdom Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has launched a fresh investigation on the London Metropolitan police officers in the case involving former Governor of Delta State, Chief James Ibori.
Tony Eluemunor, his media aide, disclosed this in a statement yesterday.
According to him, the officers are Peter Clark, John McDonald, Ben Irons, Mathew Hurding-Jones, David Cocks, George Simpson, Gary Walters and Paul Gardiner.
Eluemunor, according to an online news portal, The Cable, said the revelation was made by Lambertus De Boer, a lawyer, on his Twitter account at the weekend.
“These officers and the National Crime Agency, are believed have been served with anti-corruption notices. Surprisingly, they remain on active duty while the investigation continued,” he said.
He added: “These same officers, who worked for the Department of Foreign Investment and Development (DfID)-funded ‘Proceeds of Corruption Unit with the MPS, were investigated in 2012, after Bhadresh Gohil alerted the authorities of police corruption at the heart of the Ibori investigation and prosecution.
“Unknown to Gohil, the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) had themselves independently suspected deep-rooted corruption in relation to these officers and had itself conducted a covert surveillance operation, code-named – ‘Operation Limonium’. Despite substantial evidence, the MPS whitewashed its investigations because making such public before Ibori’s trial was concluded that it could shoot down the conviction of Ibori and his associates. Now, that whitewash has become a bullet in the armoury of Ibori’s lawyers as they head to the court of appeal, where that failure will be pleaded as yet another infraction against the police.”
Eluemunor said the case had now been referred to the Commissioner of Police, Bernard Hogan Howe, “who himself was weighed down by a barrage of criticism so voluminous that last September he applied to retire in February 2017.
“Even as the MPs have been struggling to contain the damning disclosures by mainstream British media from the BBC to the Times, Guardian, Mail, Telegraph, detailing how it misled the courts in the Ibori and related cases, fresh evidence of corrupt payments and unlawfully activity has recently been discovered in a Crown Prosecution Service/National Crime Agency (CPS/NCA) investigation named ‘Project Phoenix’. This investigation has been conducted under the direct guidance of the UK’s attorney general and the director of public prosecutions, Alison Saunders, to examine the safety of Ibori’s conviction,” Ibori spokesman said.
He stated that: “The CPS/NCA prematurely announced that the Ibori‘s conviction remains safe, wrongly assuming the role of the Appeal Court. It is facing a severe embarrassment as the material that remains undisclosed demonstrates the huge failures of the original investigations.
“This latest investigation is being spearheaded by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC). Defence lawyers will now provide substantial input before it releases its report.
“As the IPCC investigation continues, further disclosures now show the legitimacy of the V Mobile transaction. Substantial material undisclosed by the Met Police has already been uncovered. The police officers and prosecutors appear to have built a totally false case, thereby misleading the courts.”
He alleged that prosecutors had deliberately stalled Ibori’s case to stop him from going to the Court of Appeal, but added that the delay would not affect his release from prison.
“Throughout 2016, the Ibori case was totally stalled and it never advanced an inch. Also, the Ibori’s case has turned into a poisoned chalice for newly appointed prosecutors who have since February 2016 further delayed the disclosure process, denying the various defendants the ability to take their cases to the court of appealed. Despite repeated assurances of proper disclosure and yet violating stipulated deadlines, the CPS continues to withhold substantial material, and the appeal process has thus not started. The latest round of disclosure scheduled for October has now been postponed to December 19, 2016. Fortunately for Ibori, the delay will not affect his release date, which is fast approaching,” he said.
“Eluemunor said: Mike Schwarz of Bindmans, the UK leading human rights lawyers, who at one time represented Bhadresh Gohil, has been appointed to represent Theresa Ibori in the appeal. She has appointed Clare Montgomery QC, one of UK’s highest regarded barristers, in relation to her appeal.
“The UK judicial system is now firmly in the spotlight. Whether it can be trusted to act honourably remains to be seen. These cases highlight the worst possible and illegal conduct of police officers, crown prosecutors and civil servants, and perhaps, never before has a confiscation hearing, or a pending appeal, been so delayed.”
Gohil recently received £20,000 from the crown prosecution service as compensation for deprivation of his rights.
He was jailed for 10 years in 2010 for helping Ibori launder money that had not been legitimately obtained, but he was paid the sum in view of his claims that he was unlawfully detained for 33 days between November 20 and December 22, 2015.
Ibori was also jailed for 13 years in 2012, having pleaded guilty to laundering money in the UK.