Diepreye Alamieyeseigha: Impeached and arrested

  • Friday, December 09, 2005 - BBC News
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Diepreye Alamieyeseigha
 Diepreye Alamieyeseigha

A Nigerian state governor who was charged with money laundering in the UK has been impeached and arrested in his oil-rich home state of Bayelsa.

Diepreye Alamieyeseigha was arrested by police after losing the immunity from prosecution that he enjoyed in office.

He has always said he is innocent of charges that he laundered £1.8m ($3.2m) found in cash and bank accounts.

The BBC's Abdullahi Kaura Abubakar in Yenagoa says there is a heavy security presence on the streets of the city.

The governor is being held at the police headquarters, he says.

Seventeen out of the state assembly's 24 members voted in favour of impeachment.

Before the vote, the speaker said the governor had not responded in anyway to the notice of his impeachment made more than two weeks ago.

On the run

"The cover of immunity has been taken away from him by the impeachment. We are going to move in immediately and arrest him," Osita Nwajah, spokesman for Nigeria's Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) told AFP.

"The man has several cases against him. Everyone wants him," he said.

Mr Alamieyeseigha is facing allegations of fraud by a special anti-corruption court sitting in the northern city of Kaduna.

He is also on the run from the UK authorities after he jumped bail last month in London, where he has been charged with money laundering.

Nigerian officials said Mr Alamieyeseigha left Britain disguised in women's clothing, although he has denied this.

Last week, he was suspended from the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP).

Mr Alamieyeseigha has told the BBC that the $3.2m found in London does not belong to him.

He said the charges against him were politically motivated.

President Olusegun Obasanjo set up the EFCC anti-corruption body in order to fight fraud in a country ranked as one of the most corrupt in the world.

But his critics say the anti-corruption drive is bring used to eliminate political rivals.

Mr Alamieyeseigha is seen as being close to Vice-President Atiku Abubakar - who is vying with Mr Obasanjo for control of the PDP.

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