The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Friday at a Federal High Court in Abuja slammed former governor of Bayelsa State, Timipre Sylva, with a six-count charge bordering on alleged stealing of N2.5 billion belonging to the state.

Sylva is said to have travelled out of the country since his tenure was recently terminated alongside four other governors by the Supreme Court.

No date has been fixed by the court for the arraignment of the former governor.

In the charge filed by EFCC counsel, Festus Keyamo, the former governor was alleged to have connived with undisclosed persons, said to be at large, in defrauding the state of N 2.5 billion while he was at the helm of affairs in the state.

The charge reads: That you, Timipre Sylva, as Governor of Bayelsa State, with others now at large, sometime between October 2009 and February 2010 at various places in Nigeria including Abuja within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court did conspire to commit a crime to wit: conversion of properties and resources amounting to N2,000,000,000.00 belonging to Bayelsa State Government and derived from an illegal act, with the aim of concealing the illicit origin of the said amount and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 17(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition Act), 2004 and punishable under Section 14(1) of the same Act.”

The former governor was also alleged to have converted the sum of N380,000,000.00, property of the Bayelsa State Government, through the account of one Habibu Sani Maigidia, a Bureau De Change Operator with Account No. 221433478108, in FinBank, Plc, which sum he knew, represented the proceeds of an illegal act with the aim of concealing the nature of the proceeds of the said illegal act thereby committing an offence contrary to Section 14(1) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition Act) 2004 and also punishable under section 14(1) of the same Act.

Count 3 of the charge reads: “That you, Timipre Sylva, as Governor of Bayelsa State, with others now at large, on or about the 5th of February, 2010, at Abuja, within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court, converted the sum of N50,000,000.00, property of the Bayelsa State Government, through the account of one Enson Benmer Limited with Account No. 6152030001946 in First Bank, Plc, which sum you knew represented the proceeds of an illegal act with the aim of concealing the nature of the proceeds of the said illegal act and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 14(1) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition Act) 2004 and also punishable under section 14(1) of the same Act.”

He was also alleged to have converted the sum of N20,000,000.00 property of the Bayelsa State Government, through the account of one John Daukoru with Account No. 04800250000418, in United Bank for Africa, Plc, and also conspired to commit a crime to wit: inducing Union Bank, Plc, with the intent to defraud, to deliver to Bayelsa State Government the sum of N2,000,000,000.00, under the false pretence of using the amount to augment salaries of the Bayelsa State Government and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 8(a) and punishable under section 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2004.

The last count in the charge accused the former governor of conniving with others now at large, at various places in Nigeria, including Abuja, induced Union Bank, Plc, with the intent to defraud, to grant an overdraft facility of the sum of N2,000,000,000.00 to the Bayelsa State Government under the false pretence of using the amount to augment salaries of the Bayelsa State Government and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1(1)(b) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2004 and punishable under section 1(3) of the same Act.

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