Posted by By Emma Amaize & Sam Oyadongha on
A SOUTHWARK Crown Court in London trying Governor Diepreye Alamieyeseigha of Bayelsa State for alleged money laundering yesterday issued a warrant of arrest on the governor who jumped bail in London.
ABUJA —A SOUTHWARK Crown Court in London trying Governor Diepreye Alamieyeseigha of Bayelsa State for alleged money laundering yesterday issued a warrant of arrest on the governor who jumped bail in London.
The governor flouted the bail conditions imposed by the court which included that he should report daily to a police station. He was also not to travel outside London or move close to any port.
Meantime, the Investigative Panel inaugurated Monday by the Chief Judge of Bayelsa State, Justice Emmanuel Igoniwari, to look at the allegations of gross misconduct levelled at the governor has commenced sitting in Yenagoa.
While the panel is sitting, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has asked the Federal High Court sitting in Yenogoa to stay proceedings in the suit filed against it by some lawmakers who claimed that they were tortured and compelled to sign the impeachment notice against the governor.
The chairman of the investigative panel has said he has no reason to be biased against the governor in the discharge of his duties as chairman of the panel.
When the governor fled London, the British High Commission expressed regrets that he returned to Nigeria in breach of his bail conditions and said he had put in jeopardy sureties totaling $1.25 million even as his assets estimated at Ł10 millions remained frozen.
It also said his travel documents would remain in the custody of the Metropolitan Police, explaining that the appropriate authorities were sourcing a warrant for his arrest.
The High Commission explained further that courts in Britain had a liberal attitude towards bail, stating that they would normally grant bail in cases where a person charged to court was not deemed to be a threat to public order. “Those bailed are not put under 24 hour surveillance,” it said in a veiled explanation as to why it was possible for Alamieyeseigha to jump bail.
Pledging its support for the anti-graft war in the country, it said: “The UK government is staunchly committed to fighting against crime in Nigeria and elsewhere.”
The British pledge of support for the war boosted the anti-graft crusaders’ resolve yesterday as more Nigerians called on the Federal Government to ensure that Alamieyeseigha returned to London to clear his name.
Impeachment panel begins sitting
A source close to the Impeachment Panel, headed by Mr David Serena-Dokubo Spiff told Vanguard, yesterday, that the board of adjudicators had held some sessions since it was inaugurated on Monday but “I cannot really say where they are meeting.”
The chairman of the panel also confirmed to Vanguard that the panel had started work but declined further comments on the modus operandi, saying that you (press) would be informed at the appropriate time.
Vanguard gathered, however, that the panellists have not decided on whether their sitting would be open or in camera and that was why things are unclear regarding its sessions so far.
One of the counsel to the governor told Vanguard, yesterday, that it was not to his knowledge that the panel had started sitting. The panel has three months from the date of its inauguration, December 5 to submit its report to the House of Assembly.
The EFCC case against the lawmakers is supposed to come up today but an official of the court hinted, yesterday that the judges were holding their national conference and it was not likely the court would sit today as the presiding judge was away.
However, one of the five lawmakers that filed the suit against the EFCC, Mr. Amalanyo Yousuo, had since abandoned the pro-Alamieyeseigha camp for the group that wants to impeach Governor Alamieyeseigha. His volte-face, last week, automatically gave the anti-Alamieyeseigha the required two-thirds majority.
Panel Chairman replies Alams
Chairman of the Investigative Panel on allegations of gross misconduct levelled at Governor Alamieyeseigha of Bayelsa State, Mr David Serena-Dokubo Spiff, has reacted to the protest against him by the embattled governor, saying Chief Alamieyeseigha and himself are friends, and he has no reason to be biased against him in the discharge of his duties as chairman of the panel.
Mr Spiff in his December 7 reply to the Alamieyeseigha’s protest letter, dated December 5, addressed to the Chief Judge of the state, Justice Emmanuel Igoniwari, said he was not a member of the PDP or any other political party as alleged by the governor, adding: “I have never participated in any party meeting or congress.”
His words: “It is important to mention that I have no reason to be biased against Chief D.S.P. Alamieyeseigha. If in 2003, I was lawyer to plaintiffs against his office (not against him personally), after the elections, we became friends and worked together on various initiatives to uplift the Ijaw nation. That was why he appointed me a member of the 10-man committee that articulated the position of the Ijaw nation, in advance of the defunct National Political Reforms Conference (NPRC) alongside Prof Kimse Okoko, Oronto Douglas, Chief T.K. Okorotie, etc.
“I cannot, therefore, be biased against him. Rather, I owe him, Bayelsa State and Nigeria a duty to be fair in this matter and at all times,” he said.
He said the fact that he was the lead counsel in a suit by the Nembe Council of Chiefs against the Governor of Bayelsa State, the Attorney General of the Federation and others in 2003 did not mean that he had an axe to grind with the governor because “I was only discharging a professional responsibility in my capacity as counsel, my mind remaining unaffected as before I received the instructions.”
On his nomination by the Federal Government to the defunct Confab, he said: “Yes. I was nominated a federal delegate for Bayelsa to the NPRC. Perhaps, nothing illustrates my propensity for independence of mind better than my performance at that conference. Notwithstanding that I was nominated by the Federal Government, I advocated the cause of resource control with vibrancy and vivacity. I participated in most activities of the South-South delegates forum and walked out when we all needed to walk out.”
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