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Bayelsa govís cousin still in hiding

Posted by Bisi Olaniyi, Yenagoa on 2005/10/08 | Views: 2580 |

Bayelsa govís cousin still in hiding

A manhunt has been intensified for the fleeing cousin and Special Adviser to Bayelsa State Governor on Youth, Government House Transport and Logistics, Chief Abel Ebifemowei.

A manhunt has been intensified for the fleeing cousin and Special Adviser to Bayelsa State Governor on Youth, Government House Transport and Logistics, Chief Abel Ebifemowei.

The governorís cousin went into hiding on September 5 after his initial arrest by some operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

Ebifemowei, who has been accused to be among the family members who allegedly helped Alamieyeseigha to launder public funds into private accounts, is said to be hiding in a remote creek in the state.

A source confirmed to Saturday Punch that Ebifemowei was being sought after by a joint team drawn from the Nigeria Police, EFCC and the State Security Service over his role in the governorís alleged involvement in money laundering.

EFCC operatives arrested Ebifemowei along with the stateís Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Solomon Apreala; the Accountant-General, Mr. Stephen Enamamu; and the Government House Accountant, Mr. Olaitari Ikemike, on September 5 over the new Governorís and Deputy Governorís Lodges under construction.

They were asked to react to allegations in a petition which indicated that the projects were used to siphon funds belonging to the state government into private accounts. The EFCC was also interested in the circumstances around the acquisition of a new official boat for the governor.

The boat named Sunseeker was allegedly acquired on behalf of the state government by Ebifemowei, who is a former Transport Officer at the Bayelsa State Government House.

The special adviser allegedly escaped from the headquarters of the Nigeria Police, Bayelsa State Command in Yenagoa when he was taken in company with the other three government officials to the Criminal Investigation Department for interrogation.

Our correspondent gathered that Ebifemowei was moved to an unknown location in the riverine area of the state, where a source said a brand new generator had been installed for his comfort.

When contacted on Thursday, the fleeing Bayelsa officialís Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr. Alphine Ogoh, declined to speak on the issue.

Ogoh, who initially agreed to make it possible for Saturday Punch to meet with his boss, however, got angry when our correspondent pressed him on Ebifemoweiís whereabouts.

"Why are you acting as if something pointed a gun at your head to get the information at all costs. I cannot understand your special interest in this matter. What is your problem?" he yelled on telephone before abruptly terminating the call.

An impeccable source said that Ebifemowei initially contemplated relocating to the creeks of the neighbouring Delta State but was advised against it for security reasons.

The source said people monitoring the activities of the governorís cousin were able to confirm last Saturday that he was still hiding in the creek.

Asked to speak on the matter, the Public Relations Officer of the state command, Mr. Andrew Oborodudu, a deputy superintendent of police, said on telephone on Tuesday that the police had not been officially informed that Ebifemowei was hiding in the state.

Oborududu stated that the command was not aware of the whereabouts of the governorís cousin but was only monitoring media reports on him.

SATURDAY PUNCH, Friday, October 08, 2005

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