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Again, APC Chieftain Writes Buhari on Sylva’s Prosecution

*Alleges Double Standard over Corruption Charges

Chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bayelsa Stare, Chief Perekeme Kpodo, has again written to President Muhammadu Buhari over the alleged shielding of former governor, Timipre Sylva, from prosecution.

In the open letter titled “Why the face(s) behind Timipre Sylva’s shield from prosecution by the EFCC should be uncovered”, Kpodo raised a number of issues including double standard in the Federal Government’s fight against corruption.

While appreciating President Buhari’s efforts so far in engendering a new society of probity, he was quick to point out that the reluctance of the government to prosecute Sylva was a dent on the change mantra of the administration.

“As Nigerians and faithful members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bayelsa State, we use this medium to restate the facts about the perception of true progressives and indigenes of the state about the perceived double standard being set over the issues of corruption charges against former governor, Chief Timipre Sylva”, he stated.

Kpodo, whose concern was the implication of the alleged partiality in respect of the Sylva’s case to the general image of the Buhari presidency on the corruption war, said the people would be less convincing and indeed raise objections to the integrity claim of the government when, for instance, the likes of former governors Godswill Akpabio and Gabriel Suswan were being made to face interrogation and possible prosecution by the EFCC whereas Timipe Sylva who has had established cases of financial impropriety preferred against him is moving freely.

The same scenario, he claimed, also applied to the former Petroleum minister, Dizeani Allison-Madueke, who was recently arrested on graft charges in the United Kingdom.

According to his submissions in the letter, Kpodo further drew parallel with the instance of former governor Diepreye Alameyeseigha, who, he said, died untimely death while being allegedly hounded for crimes in which he had been tried, jailed and later pardoned.

Even at that, the letter pointed out that unlike Sylva who allegedly squandered   huge resources from various government sources but left a whopping debt profile of N432 billion when he left office in 2011 after five years in the saddle, Alameyeseigha left the sum of N23 billion for Dr. Goodluck Jonathan who succeeded him.

He stated that many of the folks in Bayelsa were concerned about the  “obvious partiality” in cases of fraud under the troubled administrations of Chief DSP Alamieyeseigha and Chief Timipre Sylva, noting that the “double standard”  had become a point of reference.

He insisted that Sylva was corrupt as indicated in the EFCC probe and wondered why he was being shielded by those he alleged were in the “hallowed chambers of the Aso Villa in Abuja”.

This, he said, was not in the best interest of the Buhari administration, noting that sooner than later it would boomerang on the perception index of the government’s anti-corruption crusade.

He further stated in the letter: “While Alamieyeseigha was tried and jailed for six charges of making false declaration of assets, and 23 charges of money laundering, Sylva was arrested and discovered by the EFCC to have allegedly amassed so much wealth and became a property merchant with over 47 houses seized but has not been prosecuted.  Sylva instead of being hounded by law for his alleged crime against Bayelsa, is being celebrated as the Governorship flag bearer of our party.

“Change, which is our slogan, has become a sign of worry to our faithful in Bayelsa and beyond.  To add more to our worry, we read of the position presented by some people identified as the Voice of the South-South on alleged lopsided nature of the ongoing anti-corruption crusade.

“Your Excellency, it is a known fact that the hounded and deceased DSP Alamieyeseigha  left a huge sum of N23billion for his successor, the then Deputy Governor, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan. But the Sylva administration with huge monies in loans, bonds, Federal Allocations, Millennium Development Goals Fund and Ecological Funds were allegedly squandered with a debt profile of over N432billion left for the state to bear”.

Kpado also claimed that Sylva was slammed with 50 charges of using three companies – Marlin Maritime Limited, Eat Catering Services Limited, and Halloween Construction and Logistics Limited to move about N19.2bn from Bayelsa State coffers between 2009 and 2012, under false pretense of using the withdrawn monies to augment salaries of the state government workers.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC), he stated, on Thursday, January 3, 2013 took possession of 48 properties of the former governor of Bayelsa State, Mr. Timipre Sylva.

The interim forfeiture order attached to Sylva’s properties, he also claimed, was granted by Justice A. R Mohammed on 28 December, 2012.

Kpado then raised the poser: “Why is Chief Timipre Sylva’s case different from others.?  Are we trying to grant him immunity by bulldozing him into the Bayelsa Government House in spite of protest and complaints from the people of the state?  The ongoing battle against corrupt elements in our polity must be total and equal.”

The APC chieftain, therefore, urged President Buhari to investigate the issues contained in the letter which, he noted, was imperative in order not to destroy the  reputation of his administration.


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