Dickson honours EFCC invitation, shocked over N17.5bn fraud allegation

By Haruna Salami

Governor of Bayelsa state and Senator representing Bayelsa West, Henry Seriake Dickson said he was at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC to clarify some issues relating to assets declarations as alleged by an NGNGO

It will be recalled that about two weeks ago  Dickson received an invitation from the EFCC for an “interview”, but it was rescheduled for Tuesday (yesterday).

The lawmaker said “as a law abiding citizen and with a life long commitment to Law enforcement and security agencies, I honored the invitation today as rescheduled.  I understand that the subject matter of the inquiry relates to investments of my family trust, which I incorporated while being a member of the House of Reps to hold my family assets and investments which were made between 1996 and 2012 before I became Governor”.

A Non Governmental Organization,  NGO alleged that these investments (largely buildings, plots, farms, etc Dickson’s village, Orua, Yenagoa, and two buy-to-let houses the UK) were not declared.

“I have a duty to clarify these issues with the investigating authorities by law have the responsibility to inquire into these matters”, Dickson said.

 “However, for the avoidance of doubts, let me state that my family investments, Seriake Dickson Trust Incorporated were made between 1996 and 2012 before I became governor”

According to him the investments were funded by loans and advances and repaid from salaries, allowances, savings and others, adding that “ of them is still on mortgage and I have made these documents available to the EFCC”.

He said these investments were declared his assets declaration form at the House of Reps 2011; his governorship form 2012, 2016, 2020 after he left office and the Senate Assets declaration form this year.

“I went beyond these declarations and wrote several letters to the appropriate agencies, copies of which have been made available to the EFCC. My trust and I subscribed to the federal government Voluntary Assets Income AND Declaration Scheme (VAIDES) and also paid the necessary taxes”.

He said as a result of “blackmail from some quarters”, the Trust and him went to the Federal Court where there is a subsisting judgement declaring that no Nigerian law is breached by a public takes loans and other verifiable avenues to make investments for his family provided these are declared.

“It should be on that I have since resigned from the Trust Administration since 2011 before  I became governor”.

Dickson was surprised  on getting to the commission,  that the investigating team came up with a new allegation of diversion of flood funds 2012 totaling N17.5 billion.

“The petition further alleged that the money was used for my re-election 2019. The fact is that there was no such donation about the 2012 flood Bayelsa”.

Dickson said however, “there was no mention of donor or where the money came from. There was also no re-election for governorship Bayelsa 2019 which are clear proofs that the petition was totally frivolous”.

The commission after looking into these allegations have since the governor to return home on “self recognition”.