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BREAKING: James Ibori appears in UK court again, may lose N95b worth of assets

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Former governor of Delta state, James Ibori, today appeared before a UK court for his confiscation trial.

The trial was presided over by David Tomlinson, a justice at Southwark Crown court.

He may be forced to forfeit his assets, worth about £250 million.

The confiscation trial is to determine if his assets should be seized after serving his jail term.

Interpol arrested him in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in May 2010, and he was detained in prison until 2011 when he was extradited to the UK, where he was found guilty of money laundering.

The Nigerian politician was handed a 13-year jail sentence, and regained freedom in December, after serving four and the half years.

He agreed to be deported to Nigeria, where he is expected to complete his sentence.

But Amber Rudd, the home secretary, said he would only be deported after handing over “proceeds of crime”.

On Tuesday, Ibori’s suit against the secretary of state (home office), seeking to stop the UK government from further detaining him any further, was heard by Justice Garnham of the Royal Court of Justice, Fleet Street, London.

Ibori’s lawyers led by Richard Murkin, had argued that the Crown was trying to delay the suit and pushed for the court to rule that government was abusing its powers by seeking to detain Ibori any further on the premise that his assets confiscation case remained undecided.

He asked the judge to award compensation to Ibori for “unlawful detention”.

Speaking outside the court on Tuesday, Ibori told BBC’s Mark Eastman that he was planning to appeal his conviction and return to Nigeria.

When asked how soon his trip home would be, he said “as soon as possible, may be in a matter of days.”

Ibori was mobbed by a large number of Nigerians who came to identify with him in his travails. He shook hands with many of them, exchanging pleasantries.

He was governor of Delta between 199 and 2007.