Judge who freed Ibori retires, keeps mum on ex-gov’s case

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A judge of the Federal High Court, who discharged an acquitted former Governor of Delta State, James Ibori, of corruption charges before he (Ibori) was later jailed 13 years for the same offences by a United Kingdom Court, Justice Marcelleus Awokulehin has retired from the bench.

At a valedictory court session held in his honour on the premises of the Federal High Court in Lagos on Thursday, Justice Awokulehin however refrained from commenting on the controversial Ibori case.

But Awokulehin, who retired after attaining the statutory retirement age of 65 on Thursday, used the occasion to call for sanction of lawyers who write frivolous petitions against judges.

The ceremony was presided by Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, who said the retiring judge would be missed for his companionship. “We are happy that he is leaving us with his integrity intact,” Auta said.

Awokulehin, who was the pioneer judge of the Federal High in Asaba, Delta State, had on December 17, 2009 discharged and acquitted Ibori of all 170 charges of corruption brought against him by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

A UK court was to later convict and sentence Ibori to 13 years imprisonment for the same charges.

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