Although, he enjoys immunity from prosecution, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is going ahead to investigate Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, over the alleged diversion of N12 billion from the N46 billion Airport Project he initiated.
Seriake’s probe is prompted by a petition written by a group, The Concerned Patriots of Bayelsa State, to the EFCC on the project.
The group, in the petition, alleged that Governor Dickson diverted about N12 billion set aside for the construction of an airport.
While sources in the anti-graft agency confirmed receiving the petition against Dickson, the spokesman of the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, claimed he was unaware of it.
The source told The AUTHORITY that the petition was being studied and would be acted upon.
The source, who sought anonymity, said:
“I remember seeing this petition in our office. You know, people fail to understand that we received hundreds of petitions in a week, and all of them have to undergo screening to ascertain the motive and the substance in the petitions.
“Don’t forget that some petitions are just meant to destroy perceived enemies and there is no truth in them. I assure you that in the next few days, after all the processes have been concluded, we will act appropriately on this one.”
The petition, which was signed by Konboye Amassoma, the leader of the group, alleged that about N12 billion of the N46 billion loan facility sourced from the commercial banks by the Dickson administration for the airport project was diverted to fund his re-election campaign.
According to the petition: “Sometime in July 2014, the Bayelsa State government muted the idea of building a cargo airport to boost socio-economic activities in the state and this led the government to making a presentation to the state House of Assembly for a loan facility of N46 billion to be sourced from commercial banks with a repayment period of eight years at N72 billion. Going further, the governor assured the Assembly that the airport project would be ready for use by the end of 2015.
“The Terminal building, control tower and power house contracts were approved by the State Executive Council (SEC) in August 2014, in the sum of N13.9 billion to Messrs China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC).
“The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) also awarded the sand-filling of the airport site, leaving the Bayelsa State government to undertake only the runway (3.4km) including the payment of compensation to land owners for N46 million. We are also made to understand that the state contribution to this project is put at N24 billion.
“The N46 billion was designed and intended to be used exclusively for the airport project and that the project was supposed to be completed before now which was what the House of Assembly was told as all the funds required for the project would be available to the contractor.
“Dantata and Sawoe, the contractor handling the runway and other ancillary facilities, apart from the ones under the purview of the Federal Government, was supposed to draw directly from the account on the presentation of confirmed interim payment certificates on milestones reached to the bank and there is no way the project would not have been completed at the end of 2015 as stated by the governor.
“But the above is not to be anymore because the governor in connivance with the Commissioner of Finance, Accountant-General, Speaker of the State’s House of Assembly, the Commissioner for Works, Infrastructure Development, Project Manager of Dantata and Sawoe and some bank officials, have circumvented the original agreement entered into with the banks to divert a whopping N12 billion to other uses” he added.
The petition also recalled that a N13 billion foreign loan was taken from Poland by the Dickson administration to fund a maritime university since September 2013, of which the people of Bayelsa are yet to see any result.