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EFCC: How UK newspaper tried to exonerate Ibori’s lawyer who was convicted of money laundering

EFCC: How UK newspaper tried to exonerate Ibori’s lawyer who was convicted of money laundering
September 02
08:15 2017
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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has disclosed details of how The Mail, a UK newspaper, had reportedly goofed in one of its reports concerning Bhadresh Gohil (pictured), counsel to James Ibori, former governor of Delta state.

Like Ibori, a UK court also convicted Gohil of money laundering.

In the new edition of its monthly media publication, EFCC ALERT, a report detailed how The Mail described Gohil as “innocent” despite being convicted.

The report was written by Segun Adeoye, an assistant editor of the publication.

The Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO), however, ruled that the newspaper violated the editor’s code of practice in its report, according to Adeoye.

“Titled ‘Decision of the Complaints Committee 00894-17 Wass v The Mail on Sunday’, it detailed investigations into complaints lodged against The Mail by Sasha Wass QC, a prosecution counsel,” the report read.

“Wass complained that in the story, the newspaper falsely accused her that she ‘lied to judges in order to hide damning evidence of police corruption’ during the appeal hearing of Bhadresh Gohil, challenging his conviction.

“Gohil, a lawyer to Ibori, was convicted of counts of money laundering and a count of prejudicing money laundering investigation, on November 22, 2010, after ‘a lengthy trial’ before HHJ Hardy and a jury at Southwark Crown court.

“In convicting him, the court had relied on documents, alleged to be fraudulent and/or fictitious, found secreted in his office.

“In fact, Gohil on December 6, 2010, ‘pleaded guilty to counts of conspiracy to defraud, and conspiracy to make false instruments’, and was subsequently sentenced to 10 years in jail, with confiscation proceedings instituted, afterwards.

“But The Mail report had portrayed Gohil as an ‘innocent man’, wrongfully sent to jail and had reported that ‘Gohil had been cleared by the solicitors regulation authority (SRA)’, when in fact, such was not the case.”

The report added that after reviewing the said publication from The Mail, IPSO’s ruled that the newspaper had published “significantly inaccurate information and…and as such, the committee required the publication of an adjudication”.

The Mail was said to have published a retraction of the story four months after.

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