Group calls for speedy prosecution of Bayelsa Speaker, others

Governor Dickson of Bayelsa state.

The group wants a quick prosecution for the indicted Bayelsa politicians

A civil society group, Transparency and Good Governance Coalition, TGGC, has given Bayelsa Ministry of Justice a seven-day ultimatum to initiate legal proceedings against the leadership of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly who were recently indicted for criminal misappropriation of public funds or be forced to do so through a court order.

Speaker Konbowei Friday; his Deputy, Victor Sam-Afeki; and the Clerk of the Assembly, Aaron Timiye; were recently indicted by the Special Fraud Unit of the police for conspiracy and fraudulent misappropriation of N78 million of public funds following a petition from the TGGC.

According to the police indictment, Messrs Konbowei, Sam-Afeki and Timiye are the champions of the fraud as they masterminded the criminal conversion of the money meant for attending a conference in South Africa. It asked the speaker and his deputy to refund N56.77 million to the state’s treasury.

Other members of the Assembly who profited from the embezzlement had returned N21.9 million to the treasury, the report stated.

In a letter to the state’s Director of Public Prosecution, the TGGC through its counsel, Femi Falana, said the director should follow the precedence set by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) by its prosecution of two members of the House of the Representative for misappropriation of public funds.

“In view of the well-known fact that Honourable Herman Hembe and Honourable Ifeanyi Azubuogu of the House of Representatives have been charged to Court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for misappropriation and conversion of public funds in similar circumstances we have no doubt that the necessary charges are filed against the said officials at the High Court of Bayelsa State within seven days of the receipt of this letter.”

“Kindly note that if you fail to accede to our request we shall not hesitate to take file an application for mandamus at High Court with a view to compelling you to arraign the aforementioned suspects in Court,” Mr. Falana stated.

The coalition said prosecuting the indicted politicians would help give credence to the much touted anti-corruption policy of the Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.

“The fight against corruption which is an avowed policy of the Goodluck Jonathan Administration cannot succeed if some indicted public officers are treated like sacred cows,” the letter stated.

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