Convicted former Delta State governor, James Ibori has won a High Court declaration that he was unlawfully detained by British Home Secretary Amber Rudd.
Latest reports in the UK say Ibori, who claimed £4,000 in damages for breaches of his human rights, for being held unlawfully for two days is only entitled to a nominal £1, a judge ruled on Monday.
Mrs. Justice Cheema-Grubb in her ruling in London said Ibori’s detention followed a failure to hold effective confiscation proceedings, explaining that it was in the context of awaiting the making of an assets confiscation order, and likely subsequent efforts to ‘recoup’ a sum estimated to be at least £57m, that the decision to detain Ibori was made.
The judge declared that Ibori was unlawfully held for one day, 18 hours and 10 minutes from December 20 to 21 last year saying the Home Secretary ‘failed to have regard to her limits to detain’ as attempts were made to claw back millions from the convicted ex-governor.
Ibori, who formerly worked in a London store as a cashier at the DIY store Wickes, was jailed for fraud totalling nearly £50m in April 2012.
He left the UK on February 3, 2017, after serving his term but also launched his claim for damages for unlawfully detention.
In rejecting Ibori’s bid for thousands in compensation, the judge ruled: ‘There is no compensatory loss to Mr Ibori and I fix nominal damages at £1.’
Ibori who was due to be conditionally released from prison on December 20, 2016 was detained after the Home Office indicated that there was no intention to deport him to Nigeria until he handed over at least £57m ‘proceeds of crime’.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd reportedly tried to keep Ibori locked up until he had handed back at least £18million of the proceeds of his crimes.
The High Court, however, ruled this was an abuse of her powers, and ordered Ibori to be freed.