Lawyers to former governor of Delta State, Chief James Ibori, on Thursday at the Court of Appeal in London unveiled overwhelming evidence indicating police compromise in the suit between the London Metropolitan Police and the former governor and his associates.
This indication was given in a statement issued by Tony Eluemunor, Media Assistant to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain, and obtained by Saturday INDEPENDENT.
Specifically, the lawyers, at the hearing, fingered one DC John McDonald as the police officer who was compromised into commencing in 2006 an orchestrated hunt for Ibori.
Yet the same McDonald is said to be the subject of several police investigations, as the British Crown Prosecution Service has itself officially acknowledged him as corrupt.
According to Ibori’s counsels, because he was compromised he deliberately ran his investigation of the former governor on hearsays and conjectures instead of facts and verifiable evidence.
However, due to technical difficulties, Ibori was unable to give evidence at the Thursday hearing via video telephone link.
His lawyers made three key submissions with piles of evidence in support: first was that McDonald, who was the lead case officer, was compromised, as he accepted bribes.
Secondly, that the Met police deliberately covered up the charge of corruption against the police officer from 2007 till the end of the case; and thirdly, that the CPS failed to make proper disclosure of the said corruption.
Ibori’s lawyers further submitted that the conduct of the Prosecution was so gross that in order to maintain conviction at all cost, they brought British criminal justice system into disrepute.
This is because the Crown Prosecution misled the Court and Court of Appeal on several occasions.
Ibori’s lawyers recalled that Ms. Sasha Wass (QC) had told UK’s Director of Public Prosecutions, around Jan 20, 2016 that evidence confirms that DC McDonald was corrupt.
She described the evidence the Met Police had in respect of McDonald as high-grade intelligence but which curiously was never made available to the Defence teams.
Wass stated that she wasn’t prepared to prosecute any case in which DC McDonald was involved owing to the man’s sordid track record, as in the Ibori case.
Wass claimed there were multiple instances in which DC McDonald was paid bribes by Cliff Knuckey.
The evidence comprised an internal Met Police anti-corruption report that demonstrated clear evidence of compromise and corruption, including telephone traffic between RISC and Police officers.
DC McDonald was known as ‘C22’in the records and was in receipt of payments in another case.
‘Source A’ intelligence in the possession of the Met confirmed a payment in September 2007. Wass, in her statement, described it as reliable and high grade intelligence.
However, the Met Police failed to properly investigate the case against McDonald and prematurely closed down the investigation, known as Operation Limonium, which revealed a deeply corrupt relationship between RISC and the Police in particular as well as the Proceeds of Corruption Unit (POCU).
Operation Limonium would have severely damaged the reputation of the Met Police, as its failure to investigate McDonald was deliberate and was done to protect the Police and maintain the Ibori investigation and convict-him-at-all-cost agenda.
Operation Limonium identified multiple strands of corruption involving RISC and other police officers.
The internal Met report described RISC as NIM Level 3 Red 55 IDG matrix – an aggressive corruptor of the police and engaged in a cycle of corruption.
However, the Police engaged in “Disclosure failures,” which now is at the heart of the current appeal, by repeatedly asserting that there was nothing to be disclosed.
The UK aid agency, Department for International Development (DFID), was funding the police unit even as early as December 2006.
DFID had allegedly spent some £4.9m on the police unit where DC McDonald was working.
Ibori’s lawyers told the court in their appeal that regular reports were made to the DFID by the police and this provided one of the key reasons why the Police did not want to lose this source of slush funding.
Appearing for Udaomaka Onuigbo, who had been charged with Ibori, was Henry Blaxland QC. He submitted that the court will find that the police deliberately covered up DC McDonald’s compromise in Ibori’s case, saying it was an abuse of process.
David Emmanuel appeared for Christine Ibori. He argued that DC McDonald played a vital role in her prosecution and that the allegation of corruption against him plainly affects the security of the convictions.
Christopher Convey, representing Lambertus De Boer, appealed against the V Mobile Case.
He also argued that the police corruption and non-disclosure rendered the convictions unsafe.
He identified a number of significant disclosure failings, which would have assisted the defence.
The original case was deeply flawed and the evidence did not support the prosecution’s case, Ibori’s lawyers told the court.