Leadership (Abuja)

Nigeria: Alamieyeseigha's Loot - EFCC Accuses Bayelsa of Blackmail

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has faulted newspaper reports suggesting that Bayelsa State government has dragged the anti-graft agency before an Abuja Federal High Court over ill-gotten money recovered from a former Governor Diepreye Alamieyeseigha in 2005, describing the the state government's purported action as provocative and a cheap blackmail.

But the Bayelsa State government has denied mandating anyone to file such suit on its behalf, asking the EFCC and the general public to disregard the media reports.

EFCC's reaction was contained in a statement entitled "Re: Alam's Loot: Bayelsa Drags EFCC To Court" signed by its head, media and publicity, Wilson Uwujaren, and made available to LEADERSHIP yesterday. The commission said the allegation by the state government will not stop its ongoing investigations of the state government and its officials.

The state government's denial was issued yesterday on the heels of EFCC's reaction, by chief press secretary to Governor Seriake Dickon, Daniel Iworiso-Markson, who urged journalists to always clarify issues before going to press.

Iworiso-Markson said, "The Bayelsa State government denies the reports and states categorically that it did not mandate any individual or firm to act on its behalf to request or institute any suit against the EFCC."

Newspaper reports (excluding LEADERSHIP) yesterday said the state government had sued the EFCC, demanding that N1.4billion and another $1.3million that were recovered from Alamieyesiegha be remitted to its treasury. The state government was also said to have accused the EFCC of trading with the recovered funds by way of funds placement/fixed deposits, an act it said was corrupt and an economic crime contrary to sections 6 and 7 of the EFCC (Establishment) Act, 2004.

But in a swift reaction, the EFCC said it has not been served a copy of the purported court processes and, therefore, cannot comment on the matter.

The EFCC statement reads in part: "The news reports about a matter said to have been filed at the Federal High Court, Abuja, by one Mr George Uboh, ostensibly acting on the instruction of the Bayelsa State government, are provocative misinformation and very cheap blackmail, to say the very least."

"Let it be known that the sensational allegations, wild accusations and imputations contained in the scandalous reports strike at the very heart of EFCC's values and rules of engagement and WILL NOT be allowed to go unanswered. Those pushing this deliberate misinformation for whatever ends should therefore prepare to substantiate them," EFCC said.

But Bayelsa spokesman, Iworiso-Markson has disowned Uboh, saying that the state government did not ask the lawyer to file any suit on its behalf.

Iworiso-Markson added that, the state has no hand in the said suit filed against EFCC, saying that the attention of the state government was also drawn to the publication in some sections of the media quoting one George Uboh, chief executive of Panic Alert Security System, as purportedly acting behalf of the state government.

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