A Federal High Court sitting in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, has stopped the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from further investigating the former Governor of Bayelsa State and senator representing the West Senatorial district of the State, Senator Seriake Dickson, over alleged undeclared assets between 2007 and 2020.
The presiding judge, Justice Isah H. Dashien, while ruling on a suit numbered FHC/CS/81/2021, filed against the EFCC by the Registered Trustees of the Seriake Dickson Incorporated and Senator Seriake Dickson, respectively, declared that the assets were acquired with loans when the former governor was a member of House of Representatives.
The court ruled that Dickson should not be investigated any further, having declared his assets before the Code of Conduct Bureau which issued a certificate of verification for them.
The former governor had approached the Federal High Court in Yenagoa on the 15th of November, 2021 with six prayers. The prayers included a declaration that the EFCC be bound by the judgment of the Federal High Court sitting at Yenagoa judicial division in the suit numbered FHC/YNG/CS/40/2020.
Justice Isah H. Dashien, after hearing from the counsel to the plaintiff and defendants, F.N Nwosu Esq. and C.O. Ugwu Esq, ordered that “the suit filed succeeds and judgment is hereby entered for the plaintiffs in terms of all the relief sought.”
The court ruled that the EFCC could not lawfully arrest, investigate or prosecute the former governor who declared the assets in question and for which the verifying authorities, the CCB, issued certificates of verification before he became the governor.
The judgment affirmed an earlier verdict of the Federal High Court which stated that the former governor had complied with all the constitutional requirements of the CCB in asset declaration.
It was gathered that the earlier judgment noted that in addition to the declaration of assets that the former governor while in office subjected himself to the Voluntary Assets and Income declaration scheme of the federal government (VADES) and paid taxes on the affected assets therefore the attorney general and other federal government agencies were perpetually restrained.
Recall that the former governor was in August invited by the EFCC in Abuja and interrogated over corruption allegations levelled against him, which related to assets declaration and misapplication of intervention funds.