Alamieye­seigha died poor, broke –Associate

imageChief Diepreye Solomon Pe­ter Alamieye­seigha, who passed on following complications of a kid­ney-related problem, died poor and broke.

The man who in his heydays was known as the Governor-General of the Ijaw Nation began a down­ward slide in fortune fol­lowing the adversity that beset him in the wake of his impeachment as gover­nor of Bayelsa State, an act that was widely believed to have been orchestrated by the then incumbent president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, whose disdain for the giant Ijaw man was almost legendary.

Alamieyeseigha fell on hard times after he re­gained freedom and sub­sequently got presidential pardon during the tenure of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

Even though friends and associates always rallied round to provide him gen­erous financial support, he always tended to be peren­nially broke, Sunday Sun learnt from a close associ­ate. It was not clear whether he was being blackmailed by anybody for any reason.

Beyond his health chal­lenges, Alamieyeseigha had to contend with other misfortunes. For instance, one of his sons died in 2014, while another suf­fered stroke in the United States after he discovered that his wife was engaged in an extra-marital affairs. Moreover, the marriage of his daughter broke down and ended in divorce.

Until his death, Chief Diepreye Alamieyesei­gha was to face trial in the United Kingdom (UK) on charges bordering on mon­ey laundering.

The late former gover­nor, who jumped bail and escaped from the United Kingdom and returned to Nigeria, was granted presi­dential pardon by former President Goodluck Jona­than, despite substantial allegations of corruption leveled against him.

However, he consis­tently refused to answer summons to stand trial in the UK in respect of the money laundering charges preferred against him.

Meanwhile the UK au­thorities remained deter­mined to secure his repa­triation to London.

The chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Corruption, Professor Itse Sagay was recently quoted to have said that the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration was prepared to assent to the request of the British government as the United Kingdom had every legal right to demand for the extradition of the former governor.

The stance of Sagay was not surprising as President Buhari has consistently de­clared its commitment to the fight against corruption, affirming that all corrupt government officials in the previous administration would be tried for corrup­tion.

Alamieyeseigha’s controversies

The sudden de­mise of the for­mer governor of Bayelsa State, Diepreye Alamieyesei­gha may have finally put to rest to call for his trial following the controver­sial Presidential pardon granted to him by for­mer President Goodluck Jonathan om March 12, 2013.

Alamieyeseigha who was detained in London on charg­es of money laundering in September 2005 was granted pardon by the Jonathan ad­ministration along side a for­mer Chief of Staff, Supreme Headquarters, the late Maj. Gen. Shehu Musa Yar’Adua; former Bank of the North Managing Director, Moham­med Bulama; former Chief of General Staff, Lt. Gen. Oladipo Diya; former Min­ister of Works, the late Maj. Gen. Abdulkareem Adisa, Major Bello Magaji and Mu­hammad Biu.

The late Yar’Adua, Diya and the late Adisa were convicted for their alleged involvement in the phantom coup against the then Head of State, the late General Sani Abacha in 1995. While Yar’Adua died in prison in December 1997, Adisa died following an accident several years after he was released from detention.

However, of all the ben­eficiaries of the state pardon, the inclusion of the former Bayelsa State governor, however, attracted public criticisms with many hinging their position on the argu­ment that such move could further encourage corruption.

In September, 2015, Met­ropolitan Police arrested and detained the former governor after he was found with a cash of about £1m in his Lon­don home. Another £1.8m ($3.2m) belonging to him in cash and bank accounts was equally discovered.

In addition to this, the for­mer governor was discovered to own real estate in London worth an alleged £10 mil­lion. All the discoveries were made at a time his state’s monthly federal allocation since he became governor in 1991 was calculated to be in the region of £32 million. Alamieyeseigha however, jumped bail in December 2005 from the United King­dom by allegedly disguising himself as a woman, a claim Alamieyeseigha had since debunked.

On July 26, 2007, Ala­mieyeseigha pleaded guilty before a Nigerian court to six charges and was sentenced to two years in prison on each charge; however, because the sentences were set to run concurrently and the time was counted from the point of his arrest nearly two years before the sentences, his ac­tual sentence was relatively short. Many of his assets were ordered to be forfeited to the Bayelsa state govern­ment. According to Alami­eyeseigha, he only pleaded guilty due to his age and would have fought the charg­es had he been younger. On July 27, just hours after be­ing taken to prison, he was released due to time already served.

In December 2009, the federal government hired a British law firm to help dispose of four expensive properties acquired by Ala­mieyeseigha in London. Alamieyeseigha had bought one of these properties for £1,750,000.00 in July 2003, paying in cash. Diepreye Solomon Peter Alamieye­seigha used it as his London residence, and as the regis­tered office of Solomon and Peters Inc.

On June 28, 2012, the United States (US) Depart­ment of Justice (DoJ) an­nounced that it had executed an asset forfeiture order on $401,931 in a Massachusetts brokerage fund, traceable to Alamieyeseigha. US pros­ecutors filed court papers in April 2011 targeting the Mas­sachusetts brokerage fund and a $600,000 Maryland home, which they alleged were the proceeds of cor­ruption. A motion for default judgment and civil forfeiture was granted by a Massachu­setts federal district judge in early June 2012. The forfei­ture order was the first to be made under the DoJ’s fledg­ling Kleptocracy Asset Re­covery Initiative.

Ijaw nation mourns

The Ijaw nation has been thrown into mourning following the death of the first civil­ian governor of Bay­elsa State, Chief Diepr­eye Alamieyeseigha.

Mrs. Margaret Alami­eyeseigha who is just re­covering from the death of one of their sons, Oyoms in October 2014 has been hit with the death of her hus­band.

Family sources said the way his health took a turn for the worse threw them into panic because it was believed that his kidney re­lated ailment treatment had been successful.

One of his personal staff said they became afraid when he had to be rushed to Port Harcourt, accompa­nied by his wife.

His wife, two of his step­children and two of his children and some relatives were with him in the hospi­tal when he was placed on life support.

One of his cousins, Chief Abel Ebifemowei who was one of those called when doctors confirmed his death said the family would issue a formal statement today after a family meeting. -The Sun


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