Bayelsa drags EFCC to court over Alamieyesiegha loot

By The Citizen
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Bayelsa State Government has asked an Abuja Federal High Court to order the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to immediately remit to it the N1.4bn, and another $1.3m recovered from a former governor of the state, Diepreye Alamieyesiegha.

The suit was filed by one Mr. George Uboh, the Chief Executive of Panic Alert Security System, who said he was acting with the mandate of the Bayelsa State Government.

Uboh said in line with the said mandate, he wrote to the EFCC requesting that the funds be remitted within seven days.

He added that, in response to the letter, he met with officials of the EFCC on December 19, 2013, after which the commission assured that the remittance would be made within a short time.

Uboh further explained that, following the EFCC's failure to remit the funds as promised, the Bayelsa State Government had instructed that a suit be filed against the anti-graft agency in a bid to recover the money.

In a writ of summons issued at the Abuja FHC against EFCC and its Chairman, Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde, the plaintiff alleged that the commission was trading with the seized funds.

The plaintiff in the writ of summons asked the court to declare that the failure of the EFCC to remit the complete funds recovered from Alamieyesiegha 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.'

In the suit, the plaintiff's counsel, Mr. Anthony Agbonlahor, also asked the court to order the EFCC to immediately remit the funds with the interest.

The plaintiff 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.'

Bayelsa State Government also wants the court to order EFCC to pay 21 per cent interest on the N1.4bn and the $1.3m from November 1, 2013, until the final determination of the matter.

The plaintiff equally asked the court to declare that the EFCC chairman should not have allowed the looted funds recovered from Alamieyesiegha to be traded with.

Furthermore, the plaintiff asked the court to declare that Lamorde had violated his oath of office, and was therefore not qualified to continue in office as EFCC chairman.

A hearing date is yet to be fixed for the case, which has been assigned to Court Six of the Abuja FHC.