Dickson was asked to comment on allegations of fraud and mismanagement of government funds.
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On Tuesday, he accepted the invitation and was interrogated for several hours.
The governor, in a statement made available to EJES GIST NEWS, detailed everything that transpired between him and the anti-graft commission.
“I received an invitation from the EFCC about two weeks ago to clarify some issues relating to asset declarations as alleged by an NGO. I wrote to inform them of our busy schedule at the time, and we agreed to reschedule the interview for today.”
“I honoured the invitation today as rescheduled as a law-abiding citizen with a lifelong commitment to supporting law enforcement and security agencies. I understand that the investigation is focused on investments made by my family trust, which I established while serving in the House of Representatives to hold my family assets and investments made between 1996 and 2012 before I became Governor.”
“I understand that an NGO has filed a petition alleging that these investments (primarily buildings, plots, farms, and another real estate in my village, Orua, and Yenagoa, as well as two buy-to-let houses in the United Kingdom) were not declared. I have a responsibility to clarify these issues with the investigating authorities, who are mandated by law to look into these matters.”
“However, let me state for the avoidance of doubts that my family’s Seriake Dickson Trust Incorporated investments were made between 1996 and 2012 before I became Governor.”
“Loans and advances were used to fund these investments, which were repaid with salaries, allowances, savings, and other sources. One of them is still owing money, and I’ve handed over these documents to the EFCC.”
“I declared these investments on my assets declaration form in the House of Representatives in 2011, on my Governorship form in 2012, 2016, 2020 after I left office, and on the Senate Assets Declaration Form this year.
I went above and beyond these declarations, writing several letters to the appropriate agencies, copies of which were provided to the EFCC. My trust and I joined the federal government’s Voluntary Assets Income AND Declaration Scheme (VAIDES), as well as paying the required taxes.”
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“As a result of blackmail from some quarters, the Trust and I went to the Federal High Court, where a current judgement declares that a public officer who takes loans and other verifiable avenues to make investments for his family provided these are declared violates no Nigerian law.”
“It should be noted that, before becoming Governor in 2011, I resigned from the Trust Administration. My and the trust’s lawyers have written to the EFCC to clarify these issues and provide the supporting documents.”
“However, when the investigation team arrived at the commission, they discovered a new allegation of N17.5 billion in flood funds being diverted in 2012.” The money was also allegedly used for my re-election campaign in 2019. In the case of the 2012 flood in Bayelsa, there was no such donation.”
“Intriguingly, there was no mention of the donor or the source of the funds. There was also no governorship re-election in Bayelsa in 2019, demonstrating that the petition was completely frivolous.”
“Following an investigation into these allegations, the commission has asked me to return home on self-recognition.
To avoid any misinformation, I have permitted for this statement to be made public.”