There seems to be no reprieve in sight for embattled former Bayelsa State Governor Timipre Sylva, as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday filed a six-count charge of money laundering against him at the Federal High Court in Abuja.
The ex-governor is alleged to have diverted state funds amounting to N6.4 billion while in office between October 2009 and February 2010.
In the suit filed by the EFCC’s lawyer, Mr. Festus Keyamo, the anti-graft agency accused the ex- governor of money laundering, conversion and obtaining by false pretence.
The anti-graft agency, in a six-count charge with suit No; FHC/ABJ/CR/23/2012, alleged that Sylva with some others (now at large) conspired and defrauded the state of the huge sum while he was governor of the oil-rich state.?
Sylva just ended a difficult political struggle with President Goodluck Jonathan’s candidate for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship ticket, Hon. Henry Dickson,? who eventually won the governorship election? on February 11 and was recently sworn in as governor.?
But there were reports before the filing of the suit, the EFCC operatives had been hunting for Sylva, is believed to have been on the run, apparently to escape arrest.
According to the EFCC, the offence is contrary to sections 14 (1) and 17 (a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition Act) 2004 and punishable under Section 14(1) of the same Act.
In the first count, the EFCC alleged that “Timipre Sylva, as governor of Bayelsa State, with others now at large, sometime between October, 2009 and February, 2010, at various places in Nigeria, including Abuja, within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court did conspire to commit a crime to wit: conversion of properties and resources amounting to N2bn belonging to Bayelsa State Government and derived from an illegal act, with the aim of concealing the illicit origin of the said amount.
“The anti-graft agency also claimed in the second count that Sylva with some unnamed persons had on January 22, 2010, at Abuja, converted N380m property of the state government, through the account of one Habibu Sani Maigidia.
Part of the charge reads : “That you, Timipre Sylva, as Governor of Bayelsa State, with others now at large, on? February 5, 2010, at Abuja, within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court, converted the sum of N50m property of the Bayelsa State Government, through the account of one Enson Benmer Limited with Account No. 6152030001946, in First Bank, Plc, which sum you knew represented the proceeds of an illegal act with the aim of concealing the nature of the proceeds of the said illegal act.?
“That you, Timipre Sylva, as Governor of Bayelsa State, with others now at large, on or about the 5th of February, 2010, at Abuja, within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court, converted N20m , property of the Bayelsa State Government, through the account of one John Daukoru with Account No. 04800250000418, in United Bank for Africa, Plc, which sum you knew represented the proceeds of an illegal act with the aim of concealing the nature of the proceeds of the said illegal act.