EFCC Docks Timipre Sylva Over N2bn Salary Scam

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Timipre Sylva

 

…………As Court Remands Him In EFCC Custody.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Tuesday, June 5th , 2012 arraigned a former Bayelsa State Governor, Timipre Sylva before Justice Adamu Bello of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on a six count charge of fraud, criminal conversion, and conspiracy to commit crime to the tune of over N2billion when he held sway as governor of the state.


Prosecution counsel, Festus Keyamo had sought the leave of the court for the six count charges to be read to the accused person and his plea was granted. Sylva ,however, pleaded not guilty to all the count charges.

Lead defense counsel, Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, leading another senior advocate of Nigeria along with 12 other lawyers, then moved a bail application on behalf of Sylva. He told the court that the defense team had filed a bail application dated May 22nd , 2012, supported by a twelve- paragraph affidavit, a written address and a reply to the counter affidavit filed by prosecution counsel, Festus Keyamo opposing the bail application.

Fagbemi informed the court that the offenses for which Sylva is standing trial are ordinarily bailable, and that the main purpose of bail is to ensure that an accused person faces trial . Citing authority of the Supreme Court in Saidu VS State (1982), the defense counsel urged the court to discharge its discretion for bail on lenient terms while taking judicial notice of the fact that the accused person came to court on his own volition to answer his charges.

In his response, prosecution counsel, Festus Keyamo informed the court that he had filed a sixteen- paragraph counter- affidavit accompanied with a written address in opposition to the bail being sought for the accused person. Keyamo told the court to take judicial notice of the several applications filed by prosecution for substituted service of Sylva who evaded service and even ran out of the country and deny him bail. He further urged the court to note that an accused person who had shown a propensity to bolt away should not be trusted to be around during his trial , if granted bail.

Furthermore, Keyamo asked the court to also note that there was a judicial pronouncement in a sister matter before Justice Okorowa with the same charge “that there is a very strong prima-facie case against the accused” but only that at that time, he enjoyed immunity as a sitting governor. Keyamo then prayed that the court in the exercise of its discretion of bail, should note the weighty evidence against the accused person and deny him bail while remanding him in prison custody.

Justice Adamu Bello reserved ruling on the bail application of the accused person till Thursday, June 7th , 2012 and directed that the accused person be remanded in EFCC custody.

Some of the charges against Sylva are:

COUNT 1:

That you, Timipre Sylva, as Governor of Bayelsa State, with others now at large, sometime between October, 2009 and February, 2010, at various places in Nigeria, including Abuja, within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court did conspire to commit a crime to wit: conversion of properties and resources amounting to N2,000,000,000.00 (Two Billion Naira) belonging to Bayelsa State Government and derived from an illegal act, with the aim of concealing the illicit origin of the said amount and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 17(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition Act), 2004 and punishable under Section 14(1) of the same Act.

COUNT 2:

That you, Timipre Sylva, as Governor of Bayelsa State, with others now at large, on or about the 22nd of January, 2010, at Abuja, within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court, converted the sum of N380,000,000.00 (Three Hundred and Eighty Million Naira), property of the Bayelsa State Government, through the account of one Habibu Sani Maigidia, a Bureau De Change Operator with Account No. 221433478108, in Fin Bank, Plc, which sum you knew represented the proceeds of an illegal act with the aim of concealing the nature of the proceeds of the said illegal act and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 14(1) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition Act) 2004 and also punishable under section 14(1) of the same Act.

COUNT 3:

That you, Timipre Sylva, as Governor of Bayelsa State, with others now at large, on or about the 5th of February, 2010, at Abuja, within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court, converted the sum of N50,000,000.00 (Fifty Million Naira), property of the Bayelsa State Government, through the account of one Enson Benmer Limited with Account No. 6152030001946, in First Bank, Plc, which sum you knew represented the proceeds of an illegal act with the aim of concealing the nature of the proceeds of the said illegal act and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 14(1) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition Act) 2004 and also punishable under section 14(1) of the same Act.

Wilson Uwujaren

Ag. Head, Media & Publicity

5th June, 2012.

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