April 22, 2024

EFCC palaver: Dickson returns, says petition against him frivolous

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*Seriake Dickson

Nathan Tamarapreye, Yenagoa

Former Bayelsa State governor, Sen Seriake Dickson, on Wednesday said he was questioned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Tuesday over a petition against him and allowed to return home on self-recognition same day.

A statement signed by Dickon’s Media Adviser, Mr Fidelis Soriwei, noted that the senator representing Bayelsa West, who honoured an invitation by EFF on Tuesday, described the allegations as frivolous.

Dickson was alleged to have breached asset declaration laws and diverted funds, for flood response to the tune of N17.5 billion during his tenure as governor of Bayelsa.

Dickson who became Bayelsa governor on February 14, 2012, completed his second tenure as governor on Feb 14, 2020.

He explained that the assets which the petition alleged that he acquired with public funds during his tenure as Bayelsa governor between 2012 and 2020 were acquired with loans in 2007 and were duly declared to the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).

“As a law-abiding citizen and with a lifelong commitment to supporting Law enforcement and security agencies, I honoured the invitation as rescheduled.

“I understand that the subject matter of the inquiry relates to investments of my family trust, which I incorporated while being a member of the House of Reps to hold my family assets and investments which were made between 2007 and 2012 before I became a governor.

“I understand that there is a petition from an NGO alleging that these investments (largely buildings, plots, farms, etc in my village, Orua, Yenagoa, and two buy-to-let houses in the UK) were not declared.

“I have a duty to clarify these issues with the investigating authorities who by law have the responsibility to inquire into these matters,” the statement read in part.

Dickson stated that the investments were funded by loans and advances and repaid from salaries, allowances, savings, and other incomes adding that one of the properties s is still on mortgage.

According to the statement, all the relevant documents were made available to the EFCC.

Reacting on the allegation of diverting N17.5 billion donation for flood victims during the 2012 flood disaster that ravaged the country, Dickson described the allegations as blackmail as Bayelsa government did not receive such donation.

“However, on getting to the commission, the investigating team came up with a new allegation of diversion of flood funds in 2012 totaling N17.5 billion.

“The petition further alleged that the money was used for my re-election in 2019. The fact is that there was no such donation about the 2012 flood in Bayelsa.

“Curiously, there was no mention of donor or where the money came from. There was also no re-election for governorship in Bayelsa in 2019 which are clear proofs that the petition was totally frivolous.

“The commission after looking into these allegations have since asked me to return home on self-recognition,” Dickson stated.

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