N108bn fraud: EFCC to seize Akpabio’s properties

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Eniola Akinkuotu

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is
intensifying investigation on ex-Governor of Akwa
Ibom State, Sen. Godswill Akpabio,

The EFCC is investigating allegations that the
former governor embezzled N108bn during his
tenure between 2007 and 2015.
Already, the anti-graft agency had written to five
banks demanding information on Akwa Ibom State
finances under Akpabio’s administration.

Similarly, the EFCC is making moves to invite key
members of the Akwa Ibom State House of
Assembly and serving commissioners, many of
whom served during the ex-governor’s
administration.
A source at the EFCC said, “We have written to
Zenith Bank, Keystone Bank, FCMB, Skye Bank, and
UBA demanding information on the state’s
accounts. We are also inviting the accountant-
general, the auditor-general, the Speaker and the
clerk of the House of Assembly. We have traced
some houses to the former governor in Lagos and
Abuja and it is just a matter of time before we
seize them.”
Akpabio was first quizzed by the commission’s
detectives last year following series of petitions
written against him.
The former governor, now the Senate Minority
Leader, was accused of embezzling public funds
while he was governor of the oil-rich state.
In March 2013, he was accused of giving N1m
each to six chairmen of the Peoples Democratic
Party from the South-South geopolitical zone that
had converged on Port Harcourt for a party
reconciliation session, telling them to use the
money to “buy Mr Biggs.”
Few weeks ago, the Akwa Ibom State government
had gone to a state High Court to get an interim
order barring the EFCC from investigating
Akpabio’s administration.
The Justice Ntong Ntong-led court on July 15
granted an interim injunction, restraining the EFCC,
the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other
Related Offences Commission, and the Inspector
General of Police from investigating the finances of
the Akwa Ibom State government.
The suit was filed on behalf of the state
government by the state Attorney-General,
Uwemedimo Nwoko, who also served under
Akpabio and is believed to be loyal to the former
governor.
However, following a motion on notice filed by the
EFCC, the court on Friday, vacated the order of
interim injunction restraining the EFCC from
investigating the accounts of state.
The judge then adjourned the matter till October 19
for hearing of the preliminary objection of the EFCC
alongside other applications.
In a June 22, 2015 petition to EFCC, an Abuja-
based lawyer and activist, Leo Ekpenyong had
accused Akpabio of sheer waste in office.
Among several other allegations, the petitioner
alleged that between January and December 2014,
the trio of Godswill Akpabio, a former aide to the
governor and another associate made illegal but
substantial withdrawals of cash from a designated
state government-owned account with Zenith Bank
with account number 101037588, amounting to
N22.1bn.
When contacted on the telephone on Saturday,
Akpabio’s spokesman, Mr. Aniete Ekong, said he
was in a public place and promised to call back.
However, he had yet to do so as of the time of
filing this report.

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