BAYELSA FINANCE COMMISSIONER SURRENDERS TO EFCC, DETAINED
Nineteen days after he was declared wanted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Bayelsa State Commissioner for Finance, Dr. Charles Osuala, on Monday surrendered himself to the anti-graft agency.
Osuala was said to have come in company with his lawyer and some journalists from Yenegoa, the Bayelsa State capital.
Head, Media and Publicity of the commission, Mr. Femi Babafemi, who confirmed
the development, also said the commissioner would be detained.
Osuala was declared wanted by the EFCC over a case of money laundering and diversion of public funds.
The commission had said that the decision to declare him wanted was taken after he was alleged to have refused to honour three letters of invitation sent to him by the Commission.
The anti-graft agency had claimed that a team of EFCC operatives had travelled to Bayelsa State with a letter of invitation for Osuala but when he was nowhere to be found, the Secretary to the State Government collected the letter on Tuesday, March 16 with the assurance that Osuala would honour the invitation.
The EFCC had said, 'By Friday March 19 when Osuala was yet to honour the invitation, another letter was sent to him while the third was sent to him on Tuesday, March 23.
'Following his refusal to honour the Commission's invitation, the Chairman of the EFCC has directed that his name should be put on watch list across Nigerian borders.
'The latest action is a follow up to the initial step of watch listing him while other efforts to fish him out of his hiding continue.
'It will be recalled that the EFCC had since last year launched an investigation into some allegations of diversion of public funds running into billions of naira by some Bayelsa state officials.
'One of such is the diversion of N2.4bn which has been established by investigations and over which charges have been filed against four officials including Osuala who has since gone into hiding.'
Three officials of the state, our correspondent recalled, are currently being prosecuted by the commission.
The officials already arraigned at a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja included the state Accountant General, Mr. Francis Okokuro; the Director of Treasury, Abbot Clinton and the Director of Finance, Mr. Ikobho Anthony Howells.
They are facing six-count charge of money laundering and diversion of public funds totalling over N2.4bn.