Bayelsa State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice Anthony George Ikoli (SAN) was yesterday arrested by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) for his alleged involvement in a N230 million fraud.
Ikoli, who the ICPC said had been on the run for the past three months, turned himself in yesterday after all his bank accounts had been frozen by the commission.
He was said to have shown up at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja when he learnt that he was to be declared wanted.
Trouble started when an Ibadan-based legal firm got a brief to represent the state and some officials in seven cases.
In a petition submitted to the ICPC, the law firm said it submitted a bill of N300 million to Ikoli and after negotiation, the parties agreed on N230 million.
The petitioner said it incurred all the expenses of filing and was responsible for the travelling expenses while the cases lasted.
In the end, the court dismissed all the cases and saved the state N260 billion.
The law firm said after the court dismissed the suits, it approached the state through the office of the Attorney-General for the payment of the agreed fees but was told the money had been paid since 2008……
Consequently, the firm petitioned the ICPC, alleging cheating, fraud, diversion of public funds and conferment of corrupt advantage against Ikoli.
Based on the petition, ICPC operatives visited the state thrice to investigate the matter.
Top government officials mentioned in the petition were also invited for questioning.
Since the commencement of the matter last year, the Attorney-General has refused to honour invitations sent to him.
Investigations revealed that Governor Timipre Sylva had made the funds available for the payment of the fees but Ikoli failed to release the money.
The commission gathered that N315 million was lodged in two fixed deposit accounts in Ikoli’s name in a first generation bank.
It was also gathered that Ikoli operated a domiciliary account in another bank where N117.3 million was saved.
It was revealed that between April 27, 2009 and January 21, last year, three foreign transactions totalling $1.52 million were saved in Ikoli’s account.
Another electronic wire transfer of $1 million was transferred from his Skye Bank account to another account in the same bank.