Judge Pitts sentences James Ibori to 13 years in prison for money laundering.
Judge says he "recognizes that there is another side to the man James ibori but he is not the proper person to judge your achievements and failings as a governor, that is up to the people of delta state"
Judge Pitts: None of the sentencing guidelines even get close to the amounts in your case
If he had fought the case judge says he would be looking at 24 years but will get a discount for pleading guilty. He then sentenced former Governor James Ibori to 13 years in prison.
Earlier on, his lawyers had tried to make a case for a lenient sentencing. His lawyer, Nicholas Pernell blamed Badrash Gohil and former Akwa Ibom state governor, Victor Attah, for the V-Mobile scam saying they were the architects of the fraud. He further credited his client with every development in Nigeria, and especially in Delta state, from the banking reforms, to peace in the Niger Delta, education, and building of low-cost housing. Also in his defence, he stated that his client, James Ibori, played a part in supporting British industry even before he became governor. As evidence, he cited a letter from British Airways, thanking Ibori for restoring direct flights between Nigeria and Britain.
Mr. Pernell, in his conclusion, asked the Judge to consider the pressure that his client has been under since investigations began in 2005, and also the accused’s children who now have both their parents in custody before passing his sentence.
Also in his defence, veteran sportsman, John Fashanu, made an appearance in the court today. He testified saying the former governor achieved a lot in sports, and was instrumental to the end of militancy in the state. He told the court that Ibori built nine mini-sports stadia and three Olympic-sized stadia in Delta state and also built the first shooting range in Nigeria.
The court went for a recess at about 12.30pm and reconvened at 2.25pm after which his sentence was read.