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Court Restrains EFCC From Further Probing Seriake Dickson Over Asset Declaration

A Federal High Court sitting in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, has restrained the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission from further investigating the former governor Seriake Dickson, on the issue of asset declaration with the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) while he was Lawmaker and governor.

The case with suit number FHC/CS/81/2021 involved the Registered Trustees of Seriake Dickson Trust Incorporated and Henry Seriake Dickson as first and second plaintiffs, respectively, and the EFCC as respondent.

Justice Isah Dashien, in the judgment, held that the assets acquired with loans when Dickson was a member of the House of Representatives should not be probed any further having been declared before the CCB, which issued a certificate of verification for them.

The Judge continued that by virtue of the judgment and orders of the Federal High Court last year in suit number FHC/YNG//CS/40/2020, the commission lacked the powers to open further investigation into investments made by the Registered Trustees of the Seriake Dickson Trust Incorporated.

While affirming the earlier judgment of the Federal High Court, the Judge said;

“The invitation and interrogation of the second plaintiff by the second defendant (the EFCC), and the bid to arrest, interrogate and/or detain officers and trustees of the first plaintiff (the Registered Trustees of the Seriake Dickson Trust Incorporated) by the EFCC over matters which deal with or relate to investments made by the first plaintiff is illegal, unconstitutional and a disregard of the valid and subsisting orders of a competent court.”

The earlier judgment noted that in addition to the declaration of assets, the former governor, while in office, subjected himself to the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme of the Federal Government and paid taxes on the affected assets, and therefore, the Attorney General and other Federal Government agencies were perpetually restrained.

Justice Dashien, therefore, granted the application of the plaintiffs for an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendant, its officers, men, agents or privies from inviting the second plaintiff, officers and managers or Trustees of the first plaintiff over any matter dealing with or relating to any investment made by the first plaintiff as covered or affected by the said judgment of the Federal High Court in suit no FHC/YNF/CS/40/2020.

The former Governor was said to have obtained loans over 15 years ago when he was a member of the House of Representatives from commercial banks to make the affected investments through a family investment vehicle known as the Seriake Dickson Trust Incorporated.

The mortgage of some of these loans is still running and the investments, loans, and liabilities were declared with the CCB before he was elected governor, and ever since.

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