Friday 30th September, 2016
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N12bn Airport Project: EFCC to investigate Gov Dickson, others

N12bn Airport Project: EFCC to investigate Gov Dickson, others

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.

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