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Bayelsa Deputy Governor, Ebebi Caught In 1.557billion Office Overhead Scam

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The office of the deputy governor of Bayelsa State presently finds itself wedged between a rock and a hard place. This is according to a highly placed source in the deputy governor's office who asserts that a potent quagmire sets on the person of Deputy Governor Ebebi. And the situation appears dire.

Documentary evidence available to indicates that the deputy governor may have embezzled over N1.557billion of Bayelsa State under the guise of collecting administrative overhead for the office of the deputy governor of Bayelsa State.

For the year of 2008, as the information indicates, the deputy governor of Bayelsa State, received the amount of N1,557,140,666.67 in office overhead without retiring the said amount. As gathered, the deputy governor,s overhead account was sent up to afford the deputy governor some financial independence to manage and administer his office. This is in addition to having access to the administrative financial allotments meant for the governor's office.

A highly placed source within the deputy governor's office revealed to that the deputy governor had not only amassed potentially ill wealth from the coffers of Bayelsa State treasury, he notes that the deputy governor had not been truthful about not receiving the monthly allocations due the office of the deputy governor. The deputy governor had previously gone public with a complaint that his office no longer receives its monthly allocation for office overhead. Interestingly, documents within the possession of our correspondent show that the deputy governor was not being truthful.

On December 19, 2008, a Bayelsa State Government payment voucher was issued to the head of administration, Deputy Governor's Office, Abataru for the amount N150million. The voucher was signed by the director of treasury, Mr H. A. Ikdbho. A FINBANK Cheque with number 034768864 was then issued dated December 18, 2008 for the amount N149,966,000 after a deduction of N34,000. [click here to view voucher].

In addition, the treasury office of the Bayelsa Government issued a treasury receipt to Mr. Abataru, the administrative head of the deputy governor's office who signed on behalf of the deputy governor for the receipt of the said amount. [click here to view receipt].

Table 1: Overhead payments to Deputy Governor's Office

As tabulated in Table 1, the deputy governor's office received an average of N120million monthly for the overhead management of his office. [see original tabulation].

Adding muster to the near financial criminality by the deputy governor is his activity during the period the Election Tribunal nullified their offices. In April and May of 2008, the government of Sylva/Ebebi was nullified by the tribunal courts – and as a result the deputy governor's office was not existent. However the deputy governor managed to collect over N150million from the treasury on April 29th 2008 and May 10th 2008.

Puzzled and peeved, sources within the Bayelsa State Government point the actions of the deputy governor as clear cut “financial crime” while insiders question what the money was utilized for. Others believe the deputy may have used the money to amass real estate properties in Bayelsa State. His wife Mrs. Tikere Ebebi is reportedly erecting a multi-million Naira Hotel located at BayBridge Road in Bayelsa State while the deputy governor's LATIK Hotel located along INEC Road is rated as one of the most expensive in Yenagoa, the capital of Bayelsa State.

The Bayelsa State deputy governor's little known excesses, according to reports, did not end at his misuse of office overhead. It over pours into abuse of supposed travel allowances in the amount of N50,941,801.00. Available information indicates that the deputy governor did not retire any part of the N51million travel allowance he collected from the Bayelsa coffers.

Particularly, on November 4th 2008, the Deputy Governor applied to lead a delegation of four to the United Kingdom for the International Peace Conference (ILC) – from the 16th to 25th November, 2008. A total of N11,000,000.00 was approved for the trip. On January 7th 2009, the Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State and four other delegates applied for money to take a trip to Pennsylvania, United State to attend the 2009 “Farm Show” from the 9th to 18th January, 2009. The sum of N23, 941, 801.00 was approved for the trip. On February 6th, 2009, His Excellency, the Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State, via his Head of Protocol, applied for Medical Treatment in Germany. The sum of N16, 000,000.00 was approved. Through this effect, the deputy governor pocketed N51million.

It is hoped that in the renewed spirit anti corruption battle which the EFCC has engaged, particularly with the ascension of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan to the position of Acting President, that the EFCC will extend its reach the office of the deputy governor to investigate the possible financial crimes committed in the said office.

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