The confiscation of assets hearing of former Delta State Governor, Chief James Ibori which had adjourned sitting since last year apparently on technical hindrances will commence in two weeks, Southwark Crown Court said.
Today’s hearing which was presided over by Judge Anthony Pitts in courtroom 14 stated that hearing will commence on Monday April 13, and is expected to last for six weeks.
But the hearing today gave both the prosecuting and defence teams opportunity to make skeleton submissions.
The judge however noted that he is not prepared to allow the case linger more than six weeks, as he would need time to attend to a major health issue which he had to delay because of the case.
It would be recalled that the court last year accepted the prayers of both the prosecuting and defence teams on the confiscation of assets hearing, to fix new dates for preliminary hearing.
Judge Pitts told the court that since Ibori was convicted by his own plea based on evidence that he was not going to call for the retrial of his case.
Despite the absence of the Crown prosecutor, Shasha Wass, the Crown which was led by Esther Schutzer-Wisemann, was on hand to make her submission to the judge.
It was during her submission that the judge then informed the court that he will not push the case back any further. With that in mind, Schutzer-Wisemann noted that they will abide with the set dates.
However, the defence team, led by Ivan Krolick had asked the judge to give them a clue of what the prosecuting team would be relying on during their presentation.
The Judge replied that the prosecuting team said they will be inviting three witnesses, as their identities remains unknown.
But Krolic insisted that all he wanted prosecuting team to say is what they are going to rely on in this proceedings. He said he is not asking for things which are not necessary, adding that his team cannot cope with the enormous trial evidence presented to them.
Though the prosecuting team reminded Krolic that the reason hearing was adjourned last year was because they the defence team said that there were no findings warranting assets confiscation.
‘But we have been saying that the crown has always said over a year and half ago that we will rely on all trial evidence. Therefore it is not necessary to ask us where we will rely on as all documents are all available in court,’ the Crown said.
The team said that former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Nuhu Ribadu gave evidence to the court last year, so what the Crown intends to do is to rely on the evidence instead of seeking to bring Ribadu back.
Though Krolick admitted that all of the trial evidence are in court, but said what they want to know is which of these evidence the prosecuting team will rely on in this proceedings as they would not like to bring boxes of evidence to court.
He accused the Crown that they have deviated from following what he claimed was an order by the judge, saying that they had not given indication of which part of the trial evidence they are going to rely on.