Posted by By ABDULFATAH OLADEINDE, Lagos, LUCKY NWANKWERE, Abuja on
Embattled Bayelsa State Governor, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha got a reprieve Tuesday as the Southwark Crown Court in London granted him bail.
Embattled Bayelsa State Governor, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha got a reprieve Tuesday as the Southwark Crown Court in London granted him bail. He is likely to be freed from Her Majesty’s Prison in Brixton Wednesday.
The trial judge, at the appellate court, Justice Rivlin, granted the bail after set conditions were fulfilled by Alamieyeseigha, who has been facing a three-count charge of money laundering to the tune of £1.8 million since September 28.
The governor’s bail is coming at a time Bayelsa Deputy Governor, Chief Jonathan Goodluck, says that despite Alamieyeseigha’s travail the people of the state are not desirous of his replacement.
Daily Sun gathered that Alamieyeseigha met the bail conditions Tuesday, when Mr. Terry Waya, a notable Nigerian international businessman and a friend of the governor, deposited the £500,000 bail bond in the court’s account.
Waya confirmed to Daily Sun on phone Tuesday that the bail process went well with the Bayelsa governor satisfying the judge’s conditions. He said that Alamieyeseigha would leave the prison Wednesday.
Asked why the governor was not released immediately the conditions were met, Mr Waya explained that he had instructed his bankers, NatWest Bank, St. Johns Wood branch, to write a draft in the sum of £500,000 to the court but the court insisted on physical cash being paid into its account after which instruction would be given to the Brixton Prison to release the governor.
"My bank wrote to confirm that I deposited the money. In fact, the judge instructed the solicitors to expedite action and pay money as quickly as possible into the account, while the bail papers have been signed and in our custody," Waya said.
A letter dated October 11 and in which NatWest Bank informed Justice Rivlin of the request by Waya that £500,000 draft be paid to the Justice’s clerk and signed by Elizabeth Prior and Haydn Williams, Manager and Assistant Manager respectively of the St. Johns Wood branch, confirmed that Waya had sufficient funds to cover the draft from funds in his personal account held at the branch.
With his release on bail, Governor Alamieyeseigha will still not return to Nigeria as his main criminal trial for money laundering stands adjourned till November 3.
Alamieyeseigha was arrested at the Heathrow Airport on September 15 on his way back from Germany where he had undergone surgery. Detectives from the Metropolitan Police had conducted a search on his home and found £1 million. The sums of £420,000 and £470,000 were also found lodged in separate bank accounts belonging to him, besides assets worth £10 million, all of which have been confiscated by the police.
While the money laundering trial got underway at the Bow Street Court, Alamieyeseigha was remanded in custody at Her Majesty Prison in Brixton, Jebb Avenue, London.
The governor’s team of lawyers, led by Professor Fidelis Oditah, a Queen’s counsel and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), had headed for the Southwark Crown Court to secure his bail.
Justice Rivlin had ruled that the governor be admitted into bail, if he could produce a bond in the sum of £500,000 and two sureties to the tune of £250,000 in assets.
Detectives from the Metropolitan Police, otherwise known as Scotland Yard had, last Thursday, sought the adjournment to enable them conclude their investigations in Nigeria. Already the Scotland Yard officers are in Nigeria, meeting with officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as part of their investigations into the sources of the governor’s riches.
Daily Sun gathered that beyond securing bail for Alamieyeseigha, his lawyers would in the few weeks make another request to court for the release of the governor’s travel documents to enable him return to Nigeria and travel back to London for hearing in the substantive case at the next adjourned date.
Explaining why he intervened to pay the £500,000 bond which got the governor a reprieve, Waya, said, in a press statement sent to Daily Sun, that he believed the travails and persecution of the governor had got nothing to do with the anti-corruption battle in Nigeria.
He said he believed the governor was being unjustly persecuted for his beliefs and fight against an oppressive, repressive and incompetent regime that wanted to rule beyond its tenure and, to achieve that, was determined to cow all Nigerians into submission.
"I believe that if Governor Alamieyeseigha was a proponent of this well known agenda propagated by this evil and oppressive anti-Christ, he would have done no wrong, no matter how much of his people’s money he would have stolen to finance or support that agenda."
Below is the full text of Waya’s statement:
"Today, I deposited a cash sum of £500,000.00 (Five hundred thousand pounds) bail bond as part of the conditions to secure the release from prison of His Excellency, Chief D. S. P. Alamieyeseigha, the Governor of Bayelsa State. The court had earlier made an order for funds meeting any of the bail conditions to be thoroughly investigated to confirm amongst other things that, the money is not coming from any government accounts, and the individual has no contracts or business relationships with Bayelsa State government and also not coming from families or relations of the governor.
"An investigation was thoroughly conducted by the Metropolitan Police about my person and the source of the money and no objection was raised regarding any of the above. Since my name was mentioned last week in connection with the bail, I have received a lot of calls from democrats, well-wishers and lovers of our hard earned freedom from previous oppressive regimes. I have also received a few calls of threats from government apologists, fortune seekers and their agents of oppression trying to intimidate, witch-hunt and blackmail me into abandoning a friend of mine in his hour of need. I wish to briefly explain my role as that of offering assistance to a friend in his time of need.
When the bail conditions were rolled out, it was nearly impossible to get somebody of impeccable character and unquestionable reputation who does not do or solicit business with the State Government, not only did I fit the bill but throughout the inception of this administration, I have never solicited or got any business or contracts with any State Government, neither have I benefited from the selective duty waivers and oil contracts that are the order of the day in our country today. I have always relied on living modestly on my previous investments.
"I also believe that the present travails and persecution of the Governor has got nothing to do with this charade called anti-corruption battle in Nigeria. I believe he is being unjustly persecuted for his beliefs and fight against an oppressive, repressive and incompetent regime that wants to rule beyond its mandated tenure, a desperate regime that is determined to cow all Nigerians, however high or low into submission in order to achieve this inordinate ambition, a government that is now using instruments of state power through a body called EFCC to abuse human rights, arrest people indiscriminately, search people’s homes without court orders, harass state governments, hound elected representatives of the people at state and federal levels, prevent state governments from conducting lawful businesses and freezing their accounts contrary to all decent norms and constitutional provisions.
This same body that refuses to obey court orders in Nigeria wants to come to a court in the UK to get a conviction using a process it despises, it is akin to Robert Mugabe coming to the UK and trying to enforce his fundamental human rights.
"I believe that if Governor Alamieyeseigha was a proponent of this well known agenda propagated by this evil and oppressive anti-Christ, he would have done no wrong, no matter how much of his people’s money he would have stolen to finance or support that agenda, he would be flying private jets at the common man’s expense, he might even have collapsed a bank and trapped hard earned workers’ salaries and wages or committed murder, as those who do are still doing their legislative duties unhindered, even better he could abduct an elected governor and still be protected by the instruments of state power. In fact, he could have done worse things and still be a daddy’s boy.
"I have absolutely no apologies for any actions regarding my role in the bail issue. I offer no regrets to anyone, I cannot be intimidated or blackmailed, neither can I be bought or sold out to a genuine cause, I believe in the totality of any commitment I chose to undertake, the threats of the usual arrest over trump-up charges will also not deter me. These are trying times for all of us true democrats to fight this repressive tendencies and selective injustice, trial by media and conviction by propaganda.
"Finally, I wish to assure everyone that I abhor corruption and its attendant effect on society in all its ramifications and all my friends know my stand on it and other related issues, but till Governor Alamieseigha is found guilty, I stand by him. I will offer the same support to any of my friends who might find himself in a similar situation. I thank you all for your support. God bless."
Meanwhile the Bayelsa Deputy Governor said the rumour of pressure being brought to bear on him to take-over the reins of office of the executive governor of the state was baseless and should be disregarded.
In a chat with State House correspondents in Abuja Tuesday when he led a delegation of elders of the state to see President Olusegun Obasanjo, he said there was no form of pressure on him to go against his governor.