The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital arraigned two aides of former governor Timipre Sylva for alleged stealing.
The two former aides, Ziriki Timipre Godwill and Wenibowei Moses Michael, who served as Senior Special Assistant (SSA) on Persons Living with Disabilities and Senior Special Assistant (SSA) Youth and Conflict Management respectively, were arraigned on a four-count charge of stealing, contrary to section 390(5) of the Criminal Code Law Vol 1 CAP C14 Laws of the Bayelsa State 2006.
According to the charge sheet with number YHC/13C/2013, the duo was alleged to have stolen the take-off grant of N10 million being property of the Bayelsa State Government and approved by Sylva for the office of the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) for Non-Indigenes Welfare.
Investigations revealed that the SSA Non-indigenes then, Adekilekun Kamal Akinpelu who was having a running battle with powerful forces in the Sylva administration with his allowances and salaries seized, had petitioned the EFFC over the alleged stealing of his take-off grant by Ziriki and Wenibowei who was the Chairman of the SSA Forum then.
The EFCC had arrested the duo, and after preliminary investigations they were to be detained, but they were left off the hook and granted administrative bail due to pressures from powerful forces in the Sylva administration.
However, on Friday March 1, they were re-arrested in Yenagoa by officials of the EFCC and whisked to Port Harcourt, Rivers State in preparatory to their being arraigned in court in Yenagoa.
In the charge sheet obtained by Daily Sun signed by the counsel to the EFCC, Ahmed Arogha, Ziriki was also accused of disobedience to lawful order issued by constituted authority contrary to section 203 of the Criminal Code Law Vol 1 CAP C14 Laws of Bayelsa State.
When the charges were read to the accused, they pleaded not guilty and their counsel, Eric Deri and Prince Ejinyere, for Ziriki and Wenibowei respectively made applications for their bail. Arogha representing the EFCC did not oppose the bail application and the judge, Justice Raphael Ajuwa admitted the two accused to bail.
While Ziriki was admitted to bail of N2 million with two reliable sureties who have landed property in Yenagoa, Wenibowei was admitted to bail of N500,000 and one surety with landed property.
Justice Ajuwa before adjourning the matter to March 26 however, said that if the duo could not satisfy the bail conditions they should be remanded in prison custody.
Ejinyere in his comments, said the offence was bailable and expressed confidence in the ability of the judiciary to do justice on the matter. Arogha said the EFCC did not object to the bail application because of the fact that the offence was bailable the accused did not breach their bail conditions when the EFCC granted them bail.