akpapioECONOMIC AND Financial
Crimes Commission, EFCC,
yesterday launched an
investigation into alleged looting
of N108.1 billion of Akwa Ibom
State funds by former Governor
Godswill Akpabio and now
Senate Minority Leader.
The EFCC acted based on a
petition sent to the commission
by an Abuja-based lawyer and
activist, Chief Leo Ekpenyong.
Chief Ekpenyong had on June
8 written a petition President
Muhammadu Buhari and the
EFCC, calling for Akpabio’s probe
for alleged looting of Akwa Ibom
State treasury.
Chief Ekpenyong was
summoned on Wednesday, June
17, to adopt his petition and
provide more details to some of
the allegations he made against
Sen. Akpabio, who was elected in
2007.
Akwa Ibom State and Rivers
State, which are Nigeria’s largest
oil-producing states and have
alternated as first and second top
producers periodically, receive
the highest allocation from the
Federation Accounts Allocation
Committee, FAAC, monthly.
Data from the National Bureau
of Statistics and the office of
the Accountant General of the
Federation indicate that Akwa
Ibom under Akpabio, known for
ostentatious spending, received
a staggering N1.6 trillion from
FAAC between June 2007 and
May 2014, when he vacated office.
In a new petition to the EFCC
dated June 22, and copied to
Buhari and the Inspector General
of Police, Solomon Arase,
Ekpenyong furnished details of
the alleged financial recklessness.
He indicated that between
January and December 2014, the
ex-governor allegedly colluded
with two of his top aides to steal a
whopping N108.1 billion from the
state’s treasury.
Ekpenyong told the EFCC that
the former Government House
Permanent Secretary, Etekamba
Umoren, and the former
Accountant General of the state,
Udo Isobara, allegedly colluded
with Akpabio to defraud the
funds.
“Between January –December
2014, it is on record that the trio of
Godswill Akpabio, Mr. Etekamba
Umoren and Mr. Udo Isobara,
made illegal but substantial
withdrawals of cash from a
designated state governmentowned
account with Zenith Bank
with account number: 1010375881
amounting to N22.1 billion,”
he said noting Akpabio used
surrogates and proxies to acquire
properties.
“For example, a whopping
N18 billion was withdrawn
fraudulently from the state FAAC
account with the United Bank for
Africa in trenches of N10 million
and above by Mr. Isobara in a
surreptitious manner to conceal
their dishonest intention.”
The legal practitioner went on
to state that over N50 billion of
Akwa Ibom funds were spent by
the former governor during the
last general elections.
During the period under
review, he said Mr. Akpabio also
withdrew a whopping N18 billion
from the state coffers under the
guise of special services, reception
of very important guests and
sundry items.
He listed the bouquet of
assets acquired by the former
governor through surrogates
to include a multi-billion naira
mansion at Plot 5 Okogosi Spring
Close, off Katsina-Ala Crescent,
Maitama-Abuja, a multi-billion
naira mansionette at Plot 28
Colorado Close, Maitama, Abuja
and another multi-billion naira
mansion at 22 Probyn Road, Ikoyi,
Lagos.
Others include a multi-billion
naira maisonette at Plot 23
Olusegun Aina Street, Parkview,
Lagos and a multi-billion naira 25
storey building at Akin Adesola
Street, Victoria Island, Lagos.
“As earlier promised, more
details of assets and graft-related
funds illegally and fraudulently
siphoned from Akwa Ibom State
treasury and laundered to foreign
destinations are in the offing. As
usual, we will do the needful.
An EFCC source said senior
officials of the commission held
discussions with Mr. Ekpenyong
on the petition on Tuesday and he
adopted the petition.
Former commissioner of
information under Akpabio,
Aniekan Umana, described
the contents of the petition by
Ekpenyong as falsehood taken too
far.
He said the petition betrays
a lack of understanding of the
workings of government.
“Every sum withdrawn from
a government account is tied to
a subhead and there must be a
budgetary provision. To attribute
fraud to withdrawals, which had
the full sanction of government
and was accommodated in the
budget is strange, mischievous
and untenable. More so, when one
understands that there are checks
and balances which guide all
aspects of government financial
administration,” he said stressing
that the properties listed against
Akpabio’s name do not belong to
him.
Spokesman of EFCC Wilson
Uwujaren refused to comment on
the arrest When contacted.


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