Former governor of Delta State, James Onanefe Ibori, is due to become a free man in December, after spending half of his jail term in United Kingdom prisons, according to a report from London.
Ibori was jailed for money laundering offences by Southwark Crown court in 2012.
But it is unclear yet whether he will return to Nigeria immediately as legal proceedings concerning the confiscation of his assets worth tens of millions of dollars are yet to be resolved. The delay in resolving the issue stems from allegations of police corruption in the Ibori matter and the likelihood of the former governor taking his case to the Court of Appeal.
His lawyer told the court on Friday that the former governor would appeal against his conviction on the grounds that British police and lawyers involved in his case were themselves corrupt. Ibori, who governed Delta State from 1999 to 2007, is serving a 13-year sentence after pleading guilty in 2012 to 10 counts of fraud and money-laundering.
While in office, Ibori acquired luxury properties in Britain, the United States, South Africa and Nigeria. He is the most senior Nigerian politician to have been held to account for the corruption that has blighted Africa’s most populous nation.
His jailing in Britain, where he had laundered millions of pounds and sent his children to an expensive private school, was hailed as a high point in the international fight against graft and an important signal to other corrupt politicians.