By EZEKIEL OBI, Abuja –
A coalition of Civil Society Groups under the umbrella of the Network Against Corruption and Trafficking (NACAT) has asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) to investigate Senator Godswill Akpabio, over corruption allegation during his tenure as governor of Akwa-Ibom State.
Addressing journalists on Tuesday in Abuja, Justice Ojefia, Executive Director Legal of NACAT; Sampson Tega, Executive Director, Investigation, and Stanley Ugagbe, its Operational Manager, alleged that the fortunes of Akwa-Ibom people were mortgaged for personal aggrandizement under Senator Akpobio as governor.
The group warned against electing the former governor as president of the 10th Senate, wondering why the All Progressives Congress (APC) which accuses the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of embezzling the country’s resources for 16 years, would turn around to anoint one of the alleged architects of the embezzlement as senate president.
Akpabio who is the preferred choice of the National Working Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the Senate Presidency has been under investigation by the EFCC since he left office as Governor in 2015.
The group recalled that barely months after leaving office, the EFCC invited him over allegations bothering on misappropriation of funds of the Akwa-Ibom State Treasury.
“It is no news that for eight years, the good fortunes of Akwa-Ibom people were mortgaged for personal aggrandizement when Senator Godswill Akpobio reigned supreme as Governor between 2007 to 2011,” the group said.
“Barely months after leaving office, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), were quick to pounce on him over allegations bothering on wanton looting of the Akwa-Ibom State Treasury to the tune of over 100 Billion Naira.
“While the investigations and prosecution are still on, the civil society has not rested on its oars in its bid to ensure that corruption is nipped in the bud and that every penny of Akwa-Ibom Tax payers money are properly accounted for.
“It is on this note that the coalition of civil societies led by the Network Against Corruption and Trafficking, NACAT, embarked on an comprehensive investigations of the Akwa-Ibom State Government Account between 2011-2015.
“NACAT through these discovered financial infractions and irregularities ranging from circumvention of procurement processes, suspicious payments of monies, possible money laundering, to award of contracts to non-existent Shell Companies.
“These financial manipulations have cost the good people of Akwa-Ibom State, money amounting to over 700 billion Naira, under the watch of Senator Godswill Akpabio.
“The questions begging for answers are: How will the All Progressives Congress (APC) accuse the PDP government of wasting 16 years of our nationhood and still reward a PDP-man in Mr. Godswill Akpabio who’s part of the destruction of Nigeria and only joined APC 6 years ago? It is akin to give a PDP member the number three position in the land and saying that APC lied against PDP destroying Nigeria.
“To make Akpabio a Senate President is a reward for monumental corruption orchestrated in AkwaIbom and Ministry of Niger Delta/NDDC. Akpabio as Governor looted over N1 trillion of AkwaIbom State treasury and over N200 billion NDDC funds as a minister.
“How will Akpabio be allowed to preside over the same Senate when he accused the entire Senators as being behind the corruption in NDDC during the NDDC probe?
“Giving Akpabio Senate President mandate is to whittle down the fight against corruption as he will enact laws that will weaken the EFCC and ICPC since he has cases with them.
“The nation is dominant of three tribes, namely Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo. It is nationally irresponsible to deny the Igbos the number three position in the land whether they bring votes or not, when they have ranking Senators of APC extraction who have not been tainted with corruption.”
The group accused Akpabio of, among other things, circumventing procurement procedures in the award of contracts, award of contracts to shell companies, and money laundering in with transactions carried out in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 as proof.