Alamieyeseigha gets impeachment notice

Our correspondents

The Federal Government on Tuesday began the impeachment of the Governor of Bayelsa State, Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha.

A report of the governor's assets valued at over N1.7billion was sent to the State House of Assembly by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Tuesday.

The report formed the basis on which the Assembly served the governor a notice of impeachment.

As at press time, 17 out of the 24 members of the Assembly had relocated to Lagos.

The Speaker of the Assembly, Mr. Peremobowei Ebebi, who held a late night press briefing at the Victoria Continental Hotel, Lagos, said the notice, dated November 18, 2005, was dropped at the Government House, Yenagoa, before they shifted base to Lagos.

He said, "We have served a notice on the governor. He is to respond to eight impeachable offences within 14 days or tender a resignation letter.

"If he does not reply, we will complete the impeachment procedure thereafter. The governor is a fugitive who is not fit to rule the state again."

Investigations revealed that the lawmakers might shift their plenary session to Victoria Island, Lagos, to remove the governor.

They said they could not sit in Yenagoa because of the tense security situation in Bayelsa State.

But in its report, the EFCC said it had traced over N1.7billion to eight of the governor's accounts in the United Kingdom.

It also said that it had uncovered an oil refinery in Ecuador; six companies and 18 choice properties, including Chelsea Hotel, Abuja, acquired by the governor. The properties are in Britain, Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt.

The submission of the report to the assembly, however, coincided with a mass protest in Yenagoa against the return of the governor to office.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission handed over the report, dated November 21, 2005, to the Speaker, Ebebi.

On Tuesday, the speaker and some members of the assembly were guests of the EFCC in Lagos to clarify their involvement in the allocation of funds for constituency projects.

The EFCC report signed by the commission's chairman, Alhaji Nuhu Ribadu, said interim investigations showed that the governor was guilty of conspiracy, fraudulent diversion of public funds, and money laundering.

The report read, "Mr. Speaker, please find attached the above report for further necessary action by the State House of Assembly.

"You will note that the governor has been indicted, is being prosecuted in the United Kingdom and he has jumped bail. Please accept the assurances of any high regard."

It said inquiries in Nigeria and abroad on Alamieyeseigha's properties and bank accounts revealed the following:

* That he holds a personal bank account with Barclays Bank Plc, which was opened on 5th January 2004 and the balance stood at £203,753.34 as at 15th February 2005.

* He holds a personal bank account with HSBC, London, but the account was closed sometimes in March 2003, while all the money in the account was transferred to Santolina Investment Corporation's account with National Westminister Bank, London.

* It was confirmed that he is the sole Director of Santolina Investment Corporation and sole signatory to the company's account with the National Westminster Bank with A/C No. 10182819 Sort Code 15-00-25 in London.

* He also holds personal account with Bond Bank in Lagos which was opened sometimes in January 2004 and the balance stood at N105,314,942.61 as at 16th September 2005 and another personal account in Oceanic Bank Plc.

* The sum of $2.5million has been discovered in an account which Alamieyeseigha personally held with UBS Warburg AG, 1 Curzon Street, London, WIJ 5HB.

* It is also believed that a substantial amount of money has been transferred to a company called FALCON INC, with an account in the same UBS Warburg AG, 1 Curzon Street, London, WIJ 5HB.

A letter of instruction written by Alamieyeseigha showed how he instructed the bank to transfer a sum of $1.5million from his personal account to the account of the company.

* Alamieyeseigha holds bank accounts in Cyprus with Barclays Bank Plc at International Banking Unit, 88 Dighemis Akritas Avenue, 1644, Nicosia. The account numbers are 7341553/7341596 for US Dollars, 7341454 and 7341588 for GB Pounds Sterling and 7341561 and 7341618 for EURO. An equivalent of more than GBP 3million is believed to be deposited in these accounts.

* Alamieyeseigha holds a bank account in Denmark with JYSKE Bank at Besterbrogate, 9, DK-1780, Copenhagen V. The client number is 959878-8275 and the account number is 5005220454-7. A sum of $500,000 had already been frozen in the account.

It is also believed that he holds substantial bonds within the bank reference number 959899-5203. The account and the bonds appeared to be in the name of Santolina Investment and Diepreye Alamieyeseigha.

* He holds two (2) JYSKE Visa Cards numbers 4809 0225 9878 and 4809 0215 9878 8272.

* He established a trust with UBS Trustees (Bahamas) Ltd., P.O. Box N-7757, East Bay Street, Nassau, Bahamas. Details of the Trust are as follows:- The SALO TRUST in the names of Enitonbrapa Alamieyeseigha, Embelakpo Alamieyeseigha, Ebipadei Alamieyeseigha, Oyamuyefa Alamieyeseigha, Saleaka Alamieyeseigha and Margaret Alamieyeseigha.

* He holds an account with the Bank of America in the name of Peter Alamieyeseigha with account number 0054 8256 2491 which balance stood at $160,000.00 as at August 2003.

* The sum of GBP 1,350,000.00 being the annual premium for Insurance Policy No. 1E1/0405/0012/AR/HQ in respect of the Kolo Creek Power Station Yenagoa, has been traced in an account at Barclays Bank, Knightsbridge, London, SWIX 7NT, A/C No. 80041262, Sort Code 20-47-35, IBN:GB 87 BARC 2047 3580 0412 62 SWIFT BICGB22 held by a certain First Investment & Finance Corporation. The premium is for an All Risks Cover for the Gas Turbine for a period between 22/6/2005 and 21/6/2006.

The EFCC further gave a breakdown of the properties owned by the governor.

Alamieyeseigha was a Director of an offshore company named Solomon & Peters Ltd (two middle names) and there are four (4) London properties he bought and registered in the company's name. These properties are:

* 247, Water Gardens, London, W2 2DG, which is the registered address of Solomon & Peters Ltd. This property was purchased for £1.75million on 20/8/2003.

* 14, Mapesbury Road, London, NW2 4JB. This property was purchased for £1.4million on 6/7/2001.

* A multi-million US Dollar oil refinery in Ecuador said to be owned by Chief D.S.P. Alamieyeseigha is also being investigated.

It has also been established that he owns the following properties in Nigeria:


* Two blocks of luxury flats at Plot 26 Bashir Dalhatu Close, Abacha Estate, Ikoyi, Lagos worth N450million.

* A mansion at 4A, Ilu Drive, Ikoyi, Lagos worth N250million.

* An estate of six luxury duplexes at No. 1, Community Road, Off Allen Avenue, Ikeja, Lagos worth N200million.

* 12, Adeyemi Lawson Street, Ikoyi, Lagos.


* No. 7, Mississippi Street, Maitama, Abuja.

* Chelsea Hotels Abuja worth N2billion. The sum of N1.5billion has so far been paid by Chief D.S.P. Alamieyeseigha from the State government accounts held in Intercontinental Bank and International Trust Bank. A company by name Herbage Global Services Limited scheduled to have taken over the management of the hotel after the purchase is being investigated.

* A property at John Kadiya Street, Off Jose Marti Crescent, Asokoro, Abuja worth N350million.

* Bayelsa State Governor's lodge located at Iro Dan Musa Street, off T.Y. Danjuma Street, Asokoro Area, Abuja, was also established to be owned by him.

* Plot 916 & 917, Wuse II district, Abuja.

* Plot 7, Cadastral Zone A6, Maitama Abuja.

* Plot 1267, Amazon Road, Abuja.

* Plot 3375, Cadastral Zone A6, Abuja.

* Plot 1372-1374, Cadastral Zone A7, Wuse II, Abuja.

* Plot 1281, Cadastral Zone A4, Asokoro, Abuja.

Port Harcourt

* Continental Bank Building, Boro Park, Port Harcourt.

* 3, William Jumbo Street, Old GRA, Port Harcourt was discovered to have been purchased in 2001 for N35million.

* Plot 42 (No. 20) Obagi Street, GRA Phase 1, Diobu, PH.

The commission further said over one billion naira shares in Bond Bank were also traced to Alamieyeseigha.

On the companies owned by the governor, the EFCC gave the names as Santolina Investment Corporation (UK); Solomon & Peters Ltd. (UK); Pesal Nigeria Ltd; Salomein & Associates (Nigeria) Ltd; Kpedefa Nigeria Ltd; Jety Properties Ltd.

It added that a lot of people had been identified to have connived and assisted Alamieyeseigha in stealing public funds.

The EFCC listed the governor's suspected accomplices as the Bayelsa State's Commissioner for Finance; the Accountant General; the Attorney General (who vetted and approved the bogus and inflated contracts) and the impeached speaker of

the House of Assembly who led other members to approve all the appropriation bills that gave cover to the looting of the treasury.

A cross-section of Bayelsans comprising elders, youths, children, market men and women marched from "Down Yenagoa" to the ever-busy Yenagoa, Mbiama Road.

The protesters, who wielded placards bearing anti-Alamieyeseigha inscriptions, did not destroy any public property.

They chanted, "He (Alamieyeseigha) is a rogue", and "Alamco must go", without being molested by riot policemen.

The protesters got to the Government House gate at 1:50pm, without attempting to go in, and proceeded to the state's House of Assembly.

But the lawmakers, who adjourned on Thursday to reconvene on Tuesday, were away to Lagos.

The PUNCH, Wednesday November 23, 2005