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EFCC denies holding on to Alamieyeseigha's N1.4bn loot

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC said described as blackmail the allegations that it is holding on to some funds recovered on behalf of Bayelsa State Government from the hitherto jailed and pardoned former governor, Diepreye Alamieyesiegha.
A report in some newspapers on Monday indicated that the Bayelsa State government has dragged EFCC, before the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, asking that the sum of N1.4 billion and another 1.3million USD that was recovered from the former governor be remitted to its treasury.

According to the reports, in a writ of summons it entered before the high court against EFCC and its Chairman, Ibrahim Lamorde, Bayelsa State applied for a declaration that the failure of EFCC to remit the complete funds recovered from Alamieyesiegha after he was investigated and prosecuted and “subsequently trading with the funds by way of funds placement/fixed deposits is an act of corruption and an economic crime contrary to sections 6 and 7 of the EFCC (Establishment) Act, 2004.”

Bayelsa, through its lawyer, Anthony Agbonlahor, further prayed the court to issue an order directing the anti-graft commission to forthwith, pay the monies with the interest which had accrued on them over the past years.
The State also asked the court to declare that the EFCC boss, Lamorde, who took part in the investigation and prosecution of Alamieyesiegha, should not have allowed the looted funds recovered from the ex-governor to be traded with.

The State therefore wants the court to hold that Lamorde is not qualified to continue in office as chairman of EFCC having violated his oath of office.

It also prayed the court to order EFCC to pay 21 per cent interest on the N1.4 Billion and the $1.3 million from 1 November 2013, until judgment was delivered by the court.

Bayelsa state further asked the court to, “direct EFCC to pay to it $400,000.00 being the amount forfeited by its former governor and which funds had since been repatriated by the United States Government to the EFCC.” But EFCC said it was not aware of the suit.

It however described the claims filed in court by Uboh as “provocative misinformation and very cheap blackmail, to say the very least.”

The Commission said it will give an adequate legal response to the claims in the suit after it has been served.

“It is however instructive that a matter as serious as its originators would have the world believe, is given to reporters without serving the respondents,” the Commission said in a statement signed by Wilson Uwujaren, its spokesperson.

“That said, the Commission seriously doubts that the Bayelsa State Government instructed the said Mr. George Uboh to act on its behalf, contrary to the claim of the busybody.

“If however they did, then it is most unfortunate, because the highly defamatory allegations he has made ostensibly on their behalf cannot and will not shield Bayelsa State Government and it officials from ongoing investigations.

“If the goal of the purveyors of the reports was to make EFCC stop or soft-pedal in its intensive and extensive investigation of Bayelsa State Government and its officials, they failed woefully.

“While the publications and the motive behind them are highly suspicious, it is also pertinent to point out that the allegations made therein are very wide, wild and unacceptable.

“The clearly noxious allegations that the Commission is not only holding on to recovered funds of the Bayelsa State Government but also “trading with the funds by way of funds placement/fixed deposits” could only have been calculated to impugn the hard-earned credibility of the EFCC.

“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,” the Commission said.

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