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Cablegate: Nigeria: Hmg to Challenge Ruling On Ibori Evidence

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PP RUEHPA
DE RUEHLO #2917 3261620
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 211620Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY LONDON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0471
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA PRIORITY 0602
RUEHOS/AMCONSUL LAGOS PRIORITY 0638
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L LONDON 002917

SIPDIS

DEPART FOR AF/W, AF/FO, INL/C, INL/AAE, AND INR

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/21/2018
TAGS: PREL KCOR KCRM PINR NI UK
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: HMG TO CHALLENGE RULING ON IBORI EVIDENCE
INADMISSIBLE REF: A. LONDON 2882 B. LONDON 2499 Classified By: Acting Political Counselor Jim Donegan, reasons 1.4 (b/d ).

1. (C) The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and the Metropolitan Police plan to appeal the November 19 London Court decision ruling that the evidence submitted by the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) to the court in the on-going corruption investigation of former Nigeria Delta State Governor James Ibori is inadmissible, as it should have come from Nigerian Attorney General Michael Andoakaa in accordance with the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT). The case, if upheld, establishes the precedent that the Nigerian Attorney General is the sole authority in the Nigerian government authorized to turn over Nigerian evidence to HMG in UK legal proceedings against Nigerian citizens. According to FCO Nigeria Team Leader Catherine Inglehearn, the CPS and MET Police believe they have a very strong appeal case and that the EFCC evidence will ultimately be allowed in the Ibori case (and the precedent will be overturned). Agreement has been reached with the preceding judge to speed up consideration of the appeal. Legal arguments will be heard in early December, though the actual trial against Ibori will not occur until some time in 2009. In a separate proceeding, the case against Ibori's wife, Theresa Ibori, who is charged with mortgage fraud, will begin on January 5, 2009.

Comment
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2. (C) Per reftels, the EFCC evidence submitted to HMG against Ibori is a long-festering problem that has soured HMG's relationship with the Nigerian Attorney General and complicated bilateral relations more generally. HMG has tried to mend the relationship with Aondoakaa, including through a recent invitation to London to hear briefings on the CPS's case against James Ibori. The Attorney General has been uninterested and has exacerbated the problems by stonewalling HMG's technical support to the EFCC. HMG has been reluctant to push the Attorney General because the UK continues to pursue a prisoner transfer agreement with Nigeria, which Aondoakaa would have to approve. Visit London's Classified Website: XXXXXXXXXXXX
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