An anti-corruption group, the Patriots of Anti-Corruption League, has petitioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to probe the eight years administration of the immediate past governor of Bayelsa State, Sariake Dickson.
In the petition made available to journalists on Friday, December 4, 2020, titled ‘a call for probe and investigation into allegations of money laundering, false and anticipatory declaration of assets and corruption by ex-governor Sariake Dickson’s eight-year administration of Bayelsa State and signed by the convener, Kingsley Arthur, the group, urged the anti-graft agency to open up an unbiased investigation into the finances of the State in the last eight years.
According to the petition sighted by our correspondent, the major areas that should be investigated include “Internally Generated Revenue, IGR, Accounts; the Ex-Governor allegedly collects about N300 Million (Three Hundred Million Naira) for himself and a certain amount to members of the board monthly. The IGR bank statements will show the collection and disbursement and transfers to various accounts and other beneficiaries.
“The Bayelsa Airport Project: The first tranche of N46 Billion (forty six billion naira) loan taken to fund the airport project as approved by the House of Assembly was to complete the Airport. But that was not to be as amount of N12 Billion (Twelve billion naira) was diverted to fund the reelection of Henry Dickson.
“The funding of the reelection was the main reason the loan was sought and gotten. Therefore several other loans were taken for the completion of the Airport. Deputy Governor Lawrence Egrujakpo has confirmed the sum of N56 Billion was said to have been used for the completion of the Airport. The Deputy Governor was at the time the commissioner for works and infrastructure, therefore it is more appropriate to invite him to share more light on this matter to make public milestone payment release to the contractor. The cost of the Airport is put at N100 billion.
“Further loans taken to have been purported to fund the Airport project may have been diverted to fund a private real estate located in Abuja for the Governor by the contractor who handled the Airport project. (Messer’s Dantata and Sawoe). This was a clear criminal scheme of round tripping of the resources of the state.
“The establishment of a radio station in Bayelsa (People’s FM 98.10) belonging to Henry DIickson, is suspected to have been acquired with proceeds of corruption. This was done in 2016, while still holding public office as the Governor of Bayelsa State which runs counter to the Fifth schedule of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. This radio station was not declared in his assets declaration form. request the commission to do the needful on this one.
“The Federal Accounts Allocation Accounts with Sterling Bank: Many transfers were made to many companies linked to Henry ENRY Dickson and his brothers and wives. This is actionable information that should be investigated thoroughly because we raised our concerns with him for him to exercise caution and restraint but his response was nonetheless uncooperative at the time.”
The petition addressed to the EFCC Acting Chairman, Mohammed Umar, also read in part, “we write in line with the standard operating procedure of transparency, probity, and accountability which are the hallmark of any thriving democracy. The positive quick response to request for information from the executive or leadership in governance is mandatory and non-negotiable.
“Therefore the Bayelsa Coalition for Good Governance and Accountability, on behalf of the good people of Bayelsa State do employ you to use your good offices to urgently open an unbiased investigation into the finances of the state under the eight (8) year tenure of the immediate past Governor of Bayetsa State, Henry Seriake Dickson.”
The petition also alleged that “all the properties acquired in the United States and United Kingdom were acquired while he was Governor as he was known by many Bayelsans not to have owned any landed property of value within and outside the shores of Nigeria safe for his private residence.
“Our intervention is coming at a time the National Bureau of Statistics reported Bayelsa State as among the six states that have become insolvent, It is, therefore, safe to say this report by the NBS is an indictment on the eight year tenure of the Ex-Governor which also has corroborated our fears of mismanagement and criminal diversion of resources on a grand scale.
“We graciously appeal to the Acting Chairman to have cause to liaise with the NFIU to disclose the transaction (s) of the Internal Revenue Accounts attached and all disbursement from the Bayelsa State FAAC Account with Sterling Bank, including the companies attached. B. We urge that this matter should not be politicized.
“Draw a nexus of all the loans taken as regards the Airport project and payments made to the contractor to actually ascertain the true cost of the Airport project. We look forward to be invited to adopt our petition.”
Source: The Nation