There is a brewing crisis in the Presidential Amnesty Office of the Niger Delta owing to an alleged move by the office to fraudulently pay N463.3m as claims to a camp known as Agbalababou under the Phase 2 amnesty program.
According to court documents filed by one Moses Lawyer, who claims to be the leader of the camp at the Federal High Court Yenagoa on October 3, 2019, coordinator of the Amnesty Office and Special Adviser to the President on Amnesty, Prof Charles Dokubo, accepted to pay half of the claimed sum to the claimants in order to avoid continuation of the case in court.
In the terms of settlement agreement entered into by Dokubo and Ali-Bozi Tamarantare on one hand on behalf of the Amnesty Office and Moses Lawyer and Richard Turner, the Amnesty Office accepted to pay N238.6m.
However, an aggrieved leader of second phase of the amnesty program, Comrade Steve Ebisintei, has raised the alarm, alleging that the terms of agreement on which the Amnesty Office was relying to pay the money was fraudulent.
According to him, such arrears is fictitious and non-existent.
In a motion on notice he and one Sampson Opuakpo filed on October 22, 2019 to be joined in the terms of settlement, he claimed that “the execution of the terms of settlement” agreed by parties in the substantive suit will work against the finances of the Government of Nigeria and defraud the country as it will be made to pay monies not being owed to the plaintiff on record.
Ebisintei said, “How do you explain that in the so-called terms of settlement, such huge sum of money is to be paid into the personal account of Richard Turner, the claimant’s counsel, domiciled at Diamond/Access Bank with account number 0016398219?
“Why is Ali-Bozi Tamarantare, a lawyer at the Amnesty Office, hiding our ‘notice of joinder’ from the Coordinator, knowing that Prof Dokubo will stop such fraudulent payment if this is brought to his notice?
“Our stand is simple, the government is about to be defrauded if nothing urgent is done.
“The attention of Prof Dokubo needs to be called to this so as to enable him avoid this pitfall.”