N10bn libel suit: PDP chieftain files defence against ex-Gov Dickson

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Chieftain of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Bayelsa State, Chief Perekeme Kpodoh, has filed a defence against a N10b libel suit brought against him by the immediate past Governor of the state, Mr Seriake Dickson.

Kpodoh insisted that his statement accusing the Seriake Dickson administration of mismanaging over a trillion Naira that allegedly accrued to the state between 2012 and 2019 was true and correct with facts.

Dickson, now a Senator representing the Bayelsa West Senatorial District, had in a suit No. YHC/42/2020 sued Kpodoh (first respondent) and the Silverbird Communications Limited (second respondent) over a statement signed by Kpodoh describing him as spending “stolen state fund” during the just-concluded senatorial campaigns and elections in the state.

But Kpodoh, who recently defected from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the PDP, in a statement of defence filed at a court in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital, denied each of the 27-paragraph statement of claims by the claimant, Senator Seriake Dickson.

He insisted that the claimant did not maintain a clean bill of health in the offices he occupied, particularly as former Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice and during his eight-year reign as governor of the state.

Kpodoh justified his defence, claiming that during the claimant’s eight years in office as a governor of the state, “Bayelsa Government received a sum total of N1.04 trillion as statutory allocation from the Federation Account from February 2012 to January, 2020 amounting to 96 months.

“The figure 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 (www.aggf.gov.ng) upon application.

“That there are no infrastructural projects in Bayelsa State that is anywhere commensurate to the monumental sum of N1.04 trillion received as statutory allocation from the Federation Account alone during the eight years reign of the claimant as the state’s helmsman.

“The claimant’s eight-year reign rather improvised Bayelsans through wanton termination of appointments of civil servants and failure to pay gratuities and other entitlement of those who retired from the civil service of the state. Most of the few infrastructural projects executed especially the Bayelsa Airport was awarded with bloated and inflated amounts and yet the execution is substandard.”

He said upon the claimant’s assumption of office as Governor in 2012, the state government enacted the Bayelsa State Government Compulsory Savings Law 2012 which inter alia, provided that the state government would in every month pay into designated account not less than five per cent of the total incomes accruing to the state from all sources.

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