The Bayelsa State government has threatened to sue online publishers over false reportage of the controversy surrounding the alleged missing $4.6million purportedly belonging to the state governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson.
The controversy over the missing money has led to repeated denial by the state government and the arrest of Barr. Jonah Okah over his alleged involvement in malicious defamation and remanded in prison custody by a magistrate court based on the petition filed by the State Government House Chief Accountant, Ritchie Etonye.
The state government, in a letter to the online publishers, issued by the State Solicitor-General, Preye Agedah (Esq) and dated September 6 2016 with Ref.MOJ/SG/PS/111/2016, warned that “any failure, neglect or refusal to comply with this demand will leave us with no option than to take out criminal and civil process to seek appropriate redress.”
According to the letter, the state government stated that, “Our attention has been drawn to the news item in your online publication alleging that the chief accountant, Government House (Mr. RitchieEtonye) had absconded with the sum of Four Million, Six Hundred Thousand Dollars ($4.6m) belonging to His Excellency Governor HenrySeriake Dickson of Bayelsa State. Mr.RitchieEtonye is a civil servant in the Civil Service ofBayelsaState whose current posting is Government House,Yenagoa.
“It is necessary to reiterate that in the said publication, it was alleged that Mr. Etonye had absconded with the sum of $4.6 million kept in his custody by the governor. According to your publication, the Bayelsa State governor gave the money to his first cousin shortly before travelling to Akure, the Ondo State capital to supervise the PDP governorship primary which held on Monday, 22nd August, 2016. You reported that on the Governor’s return from Ondo State, the accountant was nowhere to be found and his lines were switched off.”