Friday, February 24, 2012

Nigeria charges ex-governor in oil area with fraud

24 February 2012

* President and governor embroiled in dispute
* Politics often inflames volatile, oil rich Delta

ABUJA, Feb 24 (Reuters) - Nigerian authorities charged the powerful ex-governor of a state in the oil producing Niger Delta with fraud and money laundering on Friday, a move likely to further embitter a feud between him and President Goodluck Jonathan.

The charge sheet at Nigeria's Federal High Court accused Timipre Sylva, the former state governor of Bayelsa, of using a fraudulent salary increase scheme to transfer 2 billion naira ($12.7 million) from state accounts and of laundering a total of 2.4 billion naira using various surrogate bank accounts.

It said charges against him included "inducing Union Bank , with the intent to defraud, to deliver to Bayelsa State Government the sum of 2 billion naira, under the false pretence of using the amount to augment salaries of the Bayelsa State Government."

He had also set up an overdraft facility to misappropriate funds, it claimed. He faces four counts of money laundering.

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