EFCC Bayelsa Arrests; I am not on the run – Osuala

The Bayelsa State‘s Commissioner for Finance, Dr. Charles Osuala has said that he is not on the run from the The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission who came looking for him in Yenagoa. Speaking to the AIT, Mr Osuala further said the N500million naira said to be misappropriated is part of the Security vote spent on security in the Niger Delta.

This comes as The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC filed a charge today against Bayelsa State‘s Commissioner for Finance, Dr. Charles Osuala, the state‘s Accountant General, Mr. Francis Okokuro, the state‘s Director of Treasury, Abot Clinton and the Director of Finance, Anthony Howells for allegedly stealing N2 billion belonging to the state. 

A copy of the charge obtained by our correspondent showed that the Bayelsa‘s officials were charged before the Federal High Court in Abuja and under the Money Laundering (Prohibition Act,) 2004. 

It will be recalled that the Commissioner for Finance managed to escape arrest by the whiskers when operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday arrested the Bayelsa State Accountant-General and two others over an alleged N500million bribe. Also arrested were the treasurer in the Government House and the Director of Finance, Ministry of Finance Incorporated.

According to reports, the commission’s operatives are still on the trail of the Commissioner for Finance. The suspects were picked up by a team of operatives sent to the state capital, Yenagoa, on Monday.

The commission had also given Lagos lawyer, Mr. Festus Keyamo the fiat to prosecute the four suspects. Three of them are presently in the custody of the EFCC while the commissioner for finance, Osuala is said to be at large. The charge was filed by Mr. Sylvanus Tahir, a Chief Legal Officer with the EFCC. 

The commission‘s spokesperson Femi Babafemi said the commission had obtained a court order to detain the suspects for two weeks.

EFCC rejects bail order for detained Bayelsa officials – Vanguard 

Despite a Federal High Court order in Yenagoa that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, set free three Bayelsa State government officials in its custody over alleged diversion of N500 million into private accounts, the embattled men may spend more days in detention as the anti-graft agency yesterday said it was not aware of the order.

This comes as the commission yesterday filed a six-count charge against the officials over an alleged N2.5 billion scam.

The  officials, including the accountant-general, have now spent eight days in the commission’s cell.

In his order, Monday, the presiding judge of the Federal High Court in Yenagoa, Justice Olayinka Faji, after hearing the three separate applications filed by the detained officials of the state government, ordered the anti-graft agency to grant them bail pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.

In the three separate orders issued by the court after arguments from the counsels to the three applicants on the need for the enforcement of their fundamental human rights, in line with the provisions of the 1999 constitution and the African Charter on Human Right which does not allow detention of accused persons beyond 48 hours without charge, the applicants’ counsels, led by I. A. Adedipe (SAN), Fafa Stephen Gow, A. Adedipe and A. Akinyanju, argued that the detained officials were arrested and detained on 15 March and held incommunicado.

They argued that since the detention of the officials  was beyond 48 hours as provided by law, the court needed to grant the motion ex-parte.

The presiding judge, Justice Olayinka Faji, in his judgment delivered on the suit number FHC/YNG/CS/17/2010 and motion ex-parte under section 98 sheriffs and civil process act order, granted the leave of the applicants to serve all the originating processes in the proceedings on the respondent in Abuja, which is outside the jurisdiction of the court.

But EFCC spokesman, Femi Babafemi, said the commission was not aware of such orders.