By Mike Ekureku
A former Security Adviser to former Governor Timipre Sylva, Chief Perekeme Richard Kpodoh has filed a defence against the N10 billion libel suit brought against him by the immediate past Governor of the State, Senator Henry Seriake Dickson.
He insisted that his statement accusing the immediate past administration of mismanaging over a trillion naira accrued to the state between 2012 and 2019 is true and correct with facts.
Dickson, who is now the Senator representing Bayelsa West Senatorial district had dragged Kpodoh to court over a statement he signed, accusing him of spending stolen state funds during the just concluded Senatorial campaigns and elections in the state.
In the suit numbered YHC/42/2020 Kpodoh is the first respondent while Silverbird Communications Limited is the second respondent.
But Kpodoh, who recently decamped to the PDP from the APC, in a statement of Defence filed at the Court and made available to newsmen, denied each of the 27 paragraph statement of claims by the claimant, Senator Dickson, insisting that the claimant did not maintain a clean bill of the offices he occupied particularly as Former Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice and during his eight years reign as Governor of the State.
Kpodoh said as an outspoken socio-political critic whose unqualified constructive criticism is always based on truth and towing path of justice, at no time has anyone including the claimant asked him to retract his comment.
He however justified his defence with the fact that during Dickson’s tenure as governor, “Bayelsa Government received a sum total of N1.04 trillion as statutory allocation from the Federal Account from Febuary, 2012 to January, 2020 amounting to 96 months”.
The figure he said was drawn from a detailed and comprehensive document “Distribution of Revenue Allocation to State Governments by Federation Account Allocation Committee” duly produced and obtained from the official website of the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation.
He said: “Upon the claimant’s assumption of office as Governor in the year 2012, the Bayelsa State Government enacted the Bayelsa State Government Compulsory Savings Law 2012 which inter alia, provides that the State Government shall in every month cause to be paid into designated account not less than five per cent of the total income accruing to the state from all sources.
“The claimant as Governor informed the public that pursuant to the said law. The Bayelsa State Strategic Reserved and Saving Account with Account number 0281206040 had been opened with First City Monument Bank and the State Strategic Development Project Account with account number 1016076344 had also been opened with United Bank of Africa.
“The claimant further informed the public at that time that while the FCMB account had a balance of N2 billion, the UBA account had a balance of N5 billion. Unfortunately, the claimant in flagrant breach of the Bayelsa state Government compulsory savings law,2012 failed, refused and neglected to pay the specified sums into the designated bank accounts during his time as Governor despite the fact that the state had steady income from various sources all through his reign.
“The Bayelsa State Government through the claimant in his monthly Transparency Briefing informed the public that the Bayelsa State Strategic Reserve and Savings Account is an interest yielding account dedicated to providing savings for rainy days yet there is no evidence that monies were truly paid into that account and it yielded any interest.
Kpodoh further in his claim of defense filed before the Court alleged that aside from the sum of N1.04 trillion accrued to the state from the Statutory Allocation for the Eight years period and the undeclared Internally Generated Revenue, the Dickson administration also took both foreign and domestic loans of whooping amounts with Foreign loan standing at 47 million dollars and domestic debt at N158 billion.