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Alamieyeseigha arrested: Restricted to UK

Posted by From Collins Edomaruse in Abuja and Moses Jolayemi and Joseph Adeyeye in Lagos on 2005/09/17 | Views: 1619 |

Alamieyeseigha arrested: Restricted to UK


For the Bayelsa State governor, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, the road to freedom may be long and tortuous. The London Metropolitan Police yesterday in an exclusive interview with THISDAY confirmed that the embattled governor will not return to Nigeria until his case has been determined.

• ‘Presidency behind my travails’
•Fani-Kayode: No hiding place for corrupt officials



For the Bayelsa State governor, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, the road to freedom may be long and tortuous. The London Metropolitan Police yesterday in an exclusive interview with THISDAY confirmed that the embattled governor will not return to Nigeria until his case has been determined.


But speaking from his London home on telephone, the Bayelsa State Governor, who said his ordeal was instigated by the Presidency claimed that his return to the country is predicated on his health.


And in Abuja, the Presidency said that there would be no hiding place for corrupt officials as they would be brought to book.


According to Julie Prinacp, spokesperson of the Scotland Yard, though Alamieyeseigha was yesterday granted bail, his travel passport has been seized and he has been placed under surveillance at a specified address until November 15 when he is to report to the police for further enquiries.


Even on that day, there are no indications that he will regain his freedom. “He may be charged”, Prinacp said in a telephone interview yesterday. He may also be cautioned, she said, depending on the decision of the officers handling his case.


The spokesperson who cleverly avoided giving details on the case on the excuse that the law does not allow certain details to be released since there is an on-going investigation, refused to even directly disclose the name and status of the arrested governor.


When asked to confirm if a Nigerian governor was arrested for money laundering in London on Thursday afternoon, the following conversation ensued between the Scotland Yard spokesperson and THISDAY:
Who was the Nigerian arrested?
“A 53-year old man was arrested at Heathrow airport on 15th of September by officers from the Specialist and Economic Crime
Unit in connection with an on-going investigation. He was taken to London Police station and released on bail to return on the 15th of November pending further enquiries”.
Who is this man?
I am not allowed to give the names
But what am I going to report, do I just say a man was arrested…
What name have you got?
What we have here is Alamieyeseigha. Is that the person?
I won’t argue with that.
What was his offence?
The officers who arrested him are dealing with money laundering and other issues.
That means he was arrested for money laundering?
The officers who arrested him are dealing with money laundering?
Now that he has been granted bail, is he coming back to Nigeria pending his next appointment with the Police?
He was given some bail conditions
And what are they?
•Not to leave the UK
•To render his passport
•To reside at a specified address
Is that all?
I am not aware of other conditions


Alamieyeseigha was arrested by officers of the London Metropolitan Police Thursday afternoon at the Heathrow Airport on his way from Germany where he had gone for medical check up.


His arrest, may not have been unconnected to the earlier interrogation of a lady who was said to have tried to transfer between Ł10 million to Ł20 million from an account with the HSBC in London.


Since then, Alamieye-seigha was said to have been on the watch list of British law enforcement agencies.


Another source, however, added that Alamieyeseigha was taken to his house for a search after the arrest and that about one million pounds was found in a safe in the house. But aides of the governor have said that that allegation can not hold water as the governor was not in the house when it was said to have been searched.


The British High Com-missioner, Mr. Richard Gozney, had on Thursday confirmed that the Bayelsa state governor was questioned by the London Police.
The envoy had described the incident as a normal police work in Britain and that the British government is working closely with the Nigerian security agencies on “a collective effort by Nigeria to fight and eliminate trans-national crime”.


Meanwhile, Alamiey-eseigha, has fingered the Presidency as being behind  his ordeal.


The governor, who made the claim during an exclusive telephone interview with THISDAY said, the London Police told him that the tip that led to his arrest emanated from Abuja.


Asked if he had contacted the Presidency in the aftermath of the arrest Alamieyeseigha retorted that Aso Rock was behind his travails.


"I don't need to contact the Presidency the people here told me that they (Presidency) are behind it. They said the tip was given by Abuja. All I would say is that God bless them. I know that they are involved. I leave them in the hands of God," he said.


Asked why he prayed for his enemies, he said, "Why I say that God should bless them is because they knew that I went for a major surgery in Germany and I was trying to return home when they made the arrangement with the police here to arrest me."


Alamieyeseigha sounding weak and frail during the interview denied any wrongdoing on his part even as he said that he was informed that the Presidency asked that his immunity be waived.


He said he had travel to Germany for a major operation. "I was operated upon for three hours sixteen minutes. The stitches were removed only yesterday and I am still recovering. They know it was the state of my health that made me to travel," he said.


Governor Alamiey-eseigha wondered how he could have been arrested when he enjoys immunity.


"The issue is not Alamieyeseigha, the issue is a matter of principle. It is about the constitution of Nigeria and the sovereignty of Nigeria. "...I enjoy the same immunity as Mr. President enjoys, so if because some people want to play political games they waved that and asked me to be arrested and be treated the way I have been treated all I would say for now is that may God bless them."


The governor, however, denied several aspects of the reports of his arrest.
"It is not true that I have been charged. I have not been charged, I was not taken to any court I was only taken to a police station. I am back at home (London home) I have not received any charge yet," he said.


The governor also refuted reports that a lady was arrested in connection with the case. "There was no lady who was involved. While I was returning from Germany because of the state of my health I could not carry any load so I asked my children to come and meet. Two of my children and me were there as at the time of the arrest," he said.


He confirmed that his passport was seized although he said the police told him it was routine.


"They seized my passports and they told me that I would soon get it back. They said that the seizure of my passport is a routine. They say that investigation is still going on," he asked.


When asked if he would be coming back home soon, the governor said he won't be returning until he recovers fully.


"As soon as my health allows I would surely come home. You know bails have conditions.  I am feeling better now," he said.


But in Abuja yesterday, the Presidency said that all corrupt Nigerians, whether in the private sector or in the public sector, will be made to face justice ultimately, the Presidency said yesterday.


Reacting to the arrest of  Alamieyeseigha, by officials of London Metropolitan Police, United Kingdom, Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode, said that, although it was premature to comment on the matter, it would not in anyway dampen federal government’s resolve in ensuring that highly placed Nigerians, who abuse their offices were brought to book.


“Our fight against corruption is focused and unrelenting. We, in the federal government and in the Presidency, will do everything in our power to ensure that anybody that is corrupt, whether in the private sector or in the public sector, is brought to face justice.”


Fani-Kayode, who made the Presidency’s position known in Abuja, also assured Nigerians that the government was studying the situation and also awaiting the report from the British Police authorities.


“For now, it may not be right and proper for us to comment on this issue. It is for the British police to let us know or brief us after their investigation.”


Asked whether the government has established links with the British police authority with a view to monitoring the development, he said: “The British authorities, through the British envoy, has made the relevant information to the public. So, we shall wait for further development on the matter,” he added.


Dousing fears that the arrest and interrogation of Alamieyeseigha may impact negatively on the government quest for direct foreign investment, the presidential spokesman said: “No. This will not in anyway have any negative effect on President Olusegun Obasanjo’s foreign investment drive.


This is a clear signal to all those Nigerians who may be thinking of indulging in some form of sharp practices that there is no more safe haven for them. Not even in Nigeria or anywhere else in the world.  Our security agencies have assured their counterparts in other parts of the world as well as foreign investors of co-operation and that any sharp practise will be uncovered,” he said.


 

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Comments (3)

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Abieyuwa(Edo, Nigeria)says...

Otasowie means evening life is better than morning life. There is an error in your “evening life is better than evening life”?

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Naija g(Houston, Minnesota, US)says...

Sokari doesn’t mean joy. Joy is Biobela. Go to the village and ask the meaning of the name.

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.