Segun Olatunji and Chiawo Nwankwo
The travails of the Bayelsa State Governor, Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, worsened on Thursday as the Code of Conduct Tribunal sitting in Kaduna ordered him to appear before it on December 7, 2005.
Alamieyeseigha is to answer a 19-count charge brought against him by the Federal Government.
The Attorney-General of Federation and Minister of justice, Chief Bayo Ojo, is to issue a substituted writ of summons on the embattled governor through three national newspapers, and the network service of the Nigerian Television Authority and the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria.
The newspapers are: The PUNCH, ThisDay and The Guardian.
Just as the tribunal’s Chairman, Justice Bashir Sambo, gave the order for the issuance of the writ of summons on the governor, President Olusegun Obasanjo broke his silence on the controversy that has trailed the escape of Alamieyeseigha from London.
Obasanjo said the attitude of those who backed the governor’s action was “despicable and shameful.”
Sambo had, after listening to the prosecutor, Mr. Thompson Olatigbe, narrate the futile effort of the bailiff to serve Alamieyeseigha with the writ of summons, said the best thing to do in the circumstance was to issue it through the media.
The bailiff, Mr. Polycarp Ishawe, had told the tribunal that he did not succeed in serving the writ of summons on the governor in Yenagoa on November 29.
Alamieyeseigha was charged, among other offences, with false declaration of assets; operation and maintenance of foreign bank accounts; and abuse of office.
All the offences, according to the Federal Government, are contrary to the Code of Conduct for Public Officers, Part 1 of the Fifth Schedule of the 1999 Constitution.
The offences, which are punishable under Section 23 of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act, Cap 56 LFL 1990, were said to have been committed between 1999 and 2005.
1. Operation of a foreign personal bank account number 10659347 with Barclays Bank Plc, United Kingdom, with a balance of £ 203, 753.34;
2. Maintenance of account number 3239940 with UBS Warburg AG, 1 Curzon Street, London, W1J 5HB with a balance of $2.5million;
3. Ownership of account number 339931 in the name of FALCON INC. with UBS Warburg AG, 1 Curzon Street, London;
4. Operation of account numbers 7341553/7341596 for US dollars and 7341588 for pounds sterling and 7341618 for euro with the Barclays Bank Plc at International Banking Unit, 88 Dighemis Akritas Avenue 1644, Nicosia, Cyprus;
5. Maintenance of account number 5005220454-7 in Denmark with JYSKE Bank at Bseterbrogate, 9, DK-1780, Copeenhagen V with a balance of £500,000 as at November 17, 2005;
6. Operation of account number 005482491 with Bank of America, US in the name of Peter Alamieyeseigha with a balance of $160,000;
7. Failure to declare his assets known as Water Gardens, London W2 2DG bought at £1.75million in the name of a nominee, Solomon&Peters Ltd;
8. Non-disclosure of a property at 14 Mapesbury Road, London, NW2 4JB bought at £1.4million;
9. Non-declaration of his property at 14 Jubilee Heights, Shoot Uphill, London, NW2 2UQ, bought at £241,000;
10. Failure to declare his property at 68-70 Regent’s Road, London, N3 bought at £3million
11. Acquisition of a property known as Chelsea Hotel Abuja, at N2billion for which N1.5billion has been paid;
12. Ownership of two blocks of luxury flats at Plot 26 Bashir Dalhatu Close, Abacha Estate, Ikoyi worth N450million;
13. Acquisition of a property at John Kadiya Street, off Jose Marti Crescent, Asokoro, Abuja worth N350million;
14. Ownership of six luxury duplexes at 1 Community Road, off Allen Avenue, Ikeja, Lagos worth N200million;
15. Failure to declare N1billion worth of shares he acquired in Bond Bank;
16. Ownership of Plot 916&917, Wuse II District; Plot 7, Cadastral Zone A6, Maitama; Plot 1267, Amazon Road; Plot 3375, Cadastral Zone A6; Plot 1372-1374, Cadstral Zone A7, Wuse II; Plot 1281; and Cadastral Zone A4, Asokoro, Abuja;
17. Acceptance of £475,724.08 transferred from HSBC Bank account to his nominee, Nedd & Co., Solicitors, on account of contracts in Bayelsa State awarded to A Group Properties Limited;
18. Acceptance of £ 420,000 transferred from Midland Bank account to his nominee, Nedd & Co., Solicitors, on account of contract awarded to A Group Properties Limited in Bayelsa State; and
19. Acceptance of £409,761.24 transferred by Consort Engineering Nig. Limited into a nominee account with EBCO.
In Abuja, Obasanjo said those who supported the escape by the governor from London were shameless.
“It is shameful to all of us that a governor jumped bail and some people are hailing him,” he said.
The President spoke when the management team of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies and the institute’s graduands for the Senior Executive Course 27 visited him at the State House.
Obasanjo stated that it was time for all Nigerians, irrespective of their status, to do the right thing for the development of the country.
He therefore challenged Nigerians to pay particular attention to Section 23 of the Constitution, which states that, “the national ethics shall be discipline, integrity, dignity of labour, social justice, religious tolerance, self-reliance and patriotism.”
He said that he agreed with the NIPSS graduates that “many Nigerians were doing wrong without a sense of wrong doing,” stressing that it was unfortunate that people take pride in such attitude.
“We must begin to do things right and continue doing them right or we shall not attain the levels of socio-economic development we all desire. We need a critical mass to sustain what has been done that is good,” the President said.
THE PUNCH, Friday, December 02, 2005
I’ll Open Can Of Worms - Alamieyeseigha
AS the Federal Government closes in on the embattled government of Bayelsa state, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, more embarrassing revelations may soon come to the open as the beleaguered governor has vowed to spill the beans if not left alone in peace. A close confidant of the governor confided in Saturday Tribune in Abuja last week Friday, that the governor may soon open a can of worms by revealing the identity of all those who conspired to get him flown out of London to Nigeria.
In fact, Governor Alamieyesiegha, according to the source, was said to have vowed that top presidency officials were involved in sealing the deal that saw him avoid answering charges in a London court on charges of money laundering. The governor was said to have washed his hands off the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) said to have been agreed between the Bayelsa state government and the British government.
According to the source, the dramatis personae behind the whole “Freedom plot” was Shell petroleum Development Company (SPDC). The oil company was said to have put intense pressure on the British Government to hands off the prosecution of Governor Alamieyesiegha for the sake of its investment in the Niger Delta Area of Nigeria.
Shell was said to have successfully argued that the money reportedly laundered by the governor was nothing compared to what it realizes daily in its oil exploration activities in the area. The SPDC was also said to have told the British government that it was out of money made in the Niger Delta that the company pays substantial foreign currency as tax to the British economy.
The source disclosed further that the SPDC impressed it on the British government to jettison the call by top presidency officials for it to hold and prosecute Alamieyeseigha asking how many of the top government officials had as much investment in Britain as the embattled governor. Meanwhile, it has now been confirmed that Governor Alamieyeseigha actually acquired the prestigious four star Chelsea Hotel, Abuja for a whopping N2 billion.
The Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) last week revealed in its preliminary report that the hotel was acquired by the Bayelsa state governor. The source confided in Saturday Tribune that Chelsea Hotel was eventually sold to Governor Alamieyeseigha after he successfully outbidded Governor Peter Odili of Rivers State for the takeover of the luxurious hospitality outfit.
Detained and charged leader of the Niger Delta peoples Volunteer Force (NDPVF), Alhaji Asari Dokubo had in an interview declared that if Alamieyeseigha could be regarded as a thief, then Odili too should be classified as one, in an apparent reference to the bid of the duo for the Hotel.
In the meantime, the Federal Government has intensified its efforts in seeing to it that the Bayelsa governor is removed from office by the end of next week either constitutionally or not. To this end, more troops had been deployed to strategic areas of the state with the state House overran and the state radio station shut down. The senate too has given its backing to the decision of President Olusegun Obasanjo to send more troops to Bayelsa state.