ByÂ Â Ifeanyi Okolie
YENAGOAâ€”The Bayelsa State Government said yesterday that it has noted theÂ Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s, EFCC,Â Â declarationÂ of the Commissioner of Finance, Dr Charles Sylva Osuala wanted.
A statement by the Overseer of the State Ministry of Information, Mr Nathan Egba said; â€œHowever, we wish toÂ State that he was not runningÂ away from the law.
â€œHeÂ stayed back in Bayelsa State based on an agreement by the Efcc and the State Government, in order that all government businesses would not ground to a halt.
â€œHeÂ needed to arrangeÂ for civil servant salaries,Â etc.Â He will however turn himself in so as to have the chance of clearing his name.”
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, declared Bayelsa State Commissioner for Finance, Dr Osuala wanted over an allegation of money laundering and diversion of public funds. According to the anti-graft agency, â€œthe decision to declare him wanted was taken after he flagrantly refused to honour three letters of invitation sent to him by the Commission.
â€œA team of EFCC operatives had travelled to Bayelsa with a letter of invitation for Osuala but when he was nowhere to be found, the Secretary to the state government collected the letter on Tuesday 16 March,Â with the assurance that Osuala would honour the invitation.
â€œBy Friday March, when Osuala was yet to honour the invitation, another letter was sent to him while the third was sent to him on Tuesday, 23 March.
â€œFollowing his refusal to honour the Commissionâ€™s invitation, the Chairman of the EFCC has directed that his name should be put on watch list across Nigerian borders.
â€œThe latest action is a follow up to the initial step of watch listing him while other efforts to fish him out of his hiding continue.
â€œIt will be recalled that the EFCC had since last year launched an investigation into some allegations of diversion of public funds running into billions of naira by some Bayelsa state officials.â€