Legal Nigeria

Akpabio: EFCC goes after Akwa Ibom, bank officials

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)  is lining up several functionaries of the Akwa Ibom State government for arrest after interrogating for the second day running yesterday, the immediate past governor of the state, Senator Godswill Akpabio, over alleged mismanagement of N108.1billion while in office.
Also expected to be picked up for questioning by the anti-corruption agency are officials of banks allegedly used for illegal deals by Akpabio.
The former governor was first questioned on Friday but was released on an administrative bail at about 9pm.
He returned yesterday to the anti-graft agency for further questioning.
There were indications that some officials of Akwa Ibom State Government and a few banks might be quizzed too.
Akpabio arrived EFCC at about 11.45am yesterday and he was still there as at about 7 pm.
It was gathered that the ex-governor was accompanied by his lawyer, Mr. Rickey Tarfa (SAN), a publisher, Mr. Wole Arisekola and a friend, Mr. Segun Odubela.
Akpabio’s associates claimed he left EFCC at about 3.30pm.
A source in EFCC said: “Akpabio came back for the continuation of interaction with EFCC team on the allegations against him. We did not detain him on Friday in line with our respect for his fundamental rights.
“Having been served with a copy of the petition, he spent about four hours responding to the allegations in writing. He wrote his statement under caution.
“We asked him a few questions on some grey areas in his statement before he left. The investigation of the case is ongoing.”
Responding to a question, the EFCC top official said: “We are going to interrogate some officials of Akwa Ibom State Government and a few banks.
“Some of these officials were named in the petition by a lawyer-activist, Mr. Leo Ekpenyong.”
One of those who accompanied Akpabio to EFCC, Mr. Wole Arisekola, said that the ex-governor “only went there to write  a statement on Saturday.”
He said: “There was a petition against him and as a man of honour he went to EFCC to respond to the allegations. He was not arrested as being insinuated.
“We hope some former governors, who have petitions against them, will also be courageous enough to defend their actions in office.”
Ekpenyong had in his petition alleged that Akpabio mismanaged the state funds.
He said: “Between January –December 2014, it is on record that the trio of Godswill Akpabio and two others 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 tranches of N10 million and above by Mr. Isobara in a surreptitious manner to conceal their dishonest intention.”
“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.”
The Nation