Barely four months to his exit from office, Mr. Seriake Dickson, the governor of Bayelsa state, has been accused of alleged plans to sell majority of shares in the state-owned Atala Oil Marginal Field also known as Bayelsa state Oil Company Limited (BOCL) to some unidentified members of the public, investigation by Straightnews has shown.
In a letter to the Board Chairman of BOCL, Barr. Orua Mark, Secretary/Legal Adviser to BOCL, alleged that the governor is collaborating with the BD to divest BOCL’s 41 percent shares of the 51 percent participating interest in Atala Marginal Oil Field together with its operatorship to Halkin Global Investment Limited (HGIL).
Mark also accused the Managing Director of the company, Mr. Ebikabowei Dorgu, of running the affairs of the company in secrecy.
According to him, the MD wanted to coerce him to signing an already prepared document for the sale of the above mentioned percentage of the state-owned oil field but he declined amidst threats to sack him.
In a petition to the board copied to the state Commissioner for Mineral Resources and the Attorney-General/Commissioner for Justice, Mark recalled how he was taken to Brass Hotels and Suites in Yenagoa on September 4, 2019 with a view to forcing him to sign the purported document.
“Months after the MD’s assumption of office, he has been conducting the business of the company in utmost secrecy. Efforts to make him see reasons and act otherwise are often resisted with threat of sack and other verbal attacks.
“It all started when the MD instructed me to ensure that certain named members of the board meet with him in the office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Government House for an important assignment.
“Thereafter, he gave me two copies of BOCL board resolutions for execution. The resolution was a document authorizing management to negotiate and execute necessary documents to assign 41 percent out of the 51 percent BOCL participating interest.
“He told me that the document was prepared by HGIL but in a brief moment, l asked of the N10 billion loan facility from Sterling Bank which he is currently processing and whether CEPL and HONL settlement and pay-off has been concluded.
“He explained that those issues were ongoing but that this transaction was directed by the governor and I was surprised that all these activities with a third party investor are happening without my knowledge.
“In the evening of the same day, the MD called me to meet him at Brass Suits to execute some documents for him. At arrival, the MD took me to his room and requested me to initial and sign a copy of Farm-In Agreement and Service Agreement between BOCL and HGIL.
“The agreement assigns 41 percent out of the BOCL’s 51 percent participating interest in Atala Marginal Oil Field together with its operatorship to HGIL for consideration of $4 million on the basis of instalmental payments to wit: $500,000, $1.5 million and $2 million respectively,” the letter reads in parts,” he narrated.
Mark is, therefore, calling on the relevant bodies and Timipre Sylva, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources to call the MD and his ilk to order to avoid the rash decision of selling Bayelsa’s major source of revenue without following due process.
“It is my opinion that whoever is directing the approval of this transaction must be the end-point or overall beneficiary of the transaction while BOCL, its staff and Bayelsa as a whole lose terribly.
“Sequel to the foregoing, it is highly recommended that activities of the MD regarding the secret dealings concerning the management of BOCL, Atala Marginal Field, OPL 240, BOCL’s lawful partners and potential investors be called to order or checked immediately to forestall the apparent intention to destroying BOCL beyond lawful and useful repair,” he concluded.
Efforts by Straightnews to reach Mr. Daniel Iworiso-Markson, the state Commissioner for Information and Orientation, proved abortive as he did not reply his calls and text message sent to his cellphone.