Baribote continues to shout his innocence

By China Acheru

Deposed chairman of Bayelsa United, Victor Baribote Rumson says he is innocent of corruption charges if they are ever brought up against him.

Baribote was removed alongside other board members last week by the Bayelsa State government, owners of the club amidst rumours that he received eight hundred and fifty million naira (about $5.4m) yet failed to pay Bayelsa United players sign on fees for two seasons now as well as match bonuses.

But the embattled former chairman told that he would have been probed if that story was true.

“I have said it over and over again that people just say things they do not know because of their selfish reasons.

“Why haven’t they probed me since if it is true I collected that kind of money? The last money I received from the government was one hundred million naira (about $641,000) in December 2008 and I used that to offset previous debt to the players and debt s from our training tour of Ghana,” Baribote said.

“The government of Bayelsa State runs three clubs- Bayelsa United, Bayelsa Queens and Ocean boys and I remember an event in the state where the governor said he had so far spent eight hundred and fifty million naira on the football clubs in the state and the press immediately went to town saying I received that amount. For the benefit of those who do not understand, the governor said he had spent that amount on Bayelsa United, Bayelsa Queens and Ocean Boys, not just my club.

“This is what even the people in government know and that is why the governor has been silent on all of this because he knows he never gave me that kind of money. But we know the people that started the rumours.”

Bayelsa United won the Nigeria Premier League in the 2008/09 football season but have been relegated one season later after running seriously in debt and being unable to pay their players sign on fees and match bonuses.

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