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Akpabio to EFCC “I have not committed fraud and do not have a house in Ikoyi
Senator Godswill Akpabio

Akpabio to EFCC “I have not committed fraud and do not have a house in Ikoyi

Former Governor of Akwa Ibom State and Senate Minority Leader, Obong Godswill Akpabio has described as lies the allegations  made against him for which he has spent the last two days  being interrogated at the Headquaters Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Abuja.

Reacting to the allegation that he and his aides made withdrawals from the state’s account and also own several properties, Mr. Aniekan Umannah, his former Commissioner of Information who is still occupying the same position presently noted that those accusing Senator Akpabio of impropriety did not know the workings of government.

According to Umanah :”Every sum withdrawn from a government account is tied to a subhead and there must be a budgetary provision.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.”

Speaking about a certain N50million spent during the March General Elections, Umannah stated “There was no such provision in the budget of this year and such an amount could not have been paid as an extra-budgetary expenditure and yet salaries and other commitments were met. We challenge the petitioners to provide proof to support this wild allegation. Who was it paid to? How was it paid? Where was it paid? And when was it paid”

“Senator Akpabio does not own a 25-storey building in Victoria Island or in any part of the world, as alleged by the petitioner. It is also patent falsehood that the house at 22 Probyn Road, Ikoyi belongs to Senator Akpabio.

“It is a rented building which ownership can be verified from the Lagos State Lands Registry.

“Senator Akpabio does not own the properties mentioned in the petition to belong to him. You can verify the ownership of the properties (5 Okokosi Close, Maitama and Plot 28 Colorado Close, Maitama) from the land registry in Abuja,” he said.

He also denied that the state received over N2 trillion as oil allocation.

“Please do note that the idea that the Akwa Ibom State government received over N2.5 trillion in the eight years of the Akpabio administration is an outrageous lie.

“What this suggests is that the state government received an average of N26 billion monthly for the period. What a lie! From published accounts of disbursement from the Federation Account, Akwa Ibom State never received up to N26 billion in any month throughout the period”.

According to Senator Akpabio ‘s Lawyer, Mr. Ricky Tarfa, SAN, his invitation by the EFCC was sparked by a petition written by an Abuja-based Lawyer, Mr Leo Ekpeyong

In the petition dated June 22, 2015, Mr. Ekpenyong had said that between January and December 2014, the ex-governor colluded with two of his personal aides to steal a huge sums.

According to him, “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 government-owned account with Zenith Bank with account number: 1010375881 amounting to N22.1 billion’’.

“It is worthy of note that reasons for such ungodly cash withdrawals against financial regulations and due process laws range between sundry use and unjustifiable expenditures by Godswill Akpabio and his numerous surrogates and proxies.

“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.”

Under the period review, the petitioner added that the ex-governor also withdrew a huge sum of N18 billion from the state account under the guise of special services, reception of very important guests and sundry items.

He added, “The cumulative aggregate of these monies stolen by Godswill Akpabio from the coffers of government as pocket money is the annual budget of some states in Nigeria put together.”

Among the properties, which the petitioner claimed the ex-governor acquired  through proxies 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 property at Plot 23 Olusegun Aina Street, Parkview, Lagos; a multi-billion naira 25 storey building at Akin Adesola Street, Victoria Island, Lagos and others.

Senator Akpabio who arrived the EFCC office at about 11.30am, did not leave till about 8pm and it is not known if he would return there anytime soon.

 

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