Former Akwa Ibom state governor and Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio has dismissed media report of his detention by the Economic and Financial Crimes, (EFCC) as a ruse.
An online platform, Sahara reporters, had reported that Senator Akpabio was detained for two hours by the Chairman of the anti-graft Commission, Abdulrasheed Bawa after the former tried to bribe him with $350,000.
But Senator Akpabio in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Anietie Ekong, faulted the report.
He said his principal “the Honourable Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio has no reason to offer a bribe to the new Chairman of the EFCC, Abdulrasheed Bawa and never did.”
He recalled that the meeting with the EFCC Chairman was at the instance of the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs and the purpose was “to discuss to the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) in respect of the 3 per cent statutory remittances from Oil and Gas Companies in the custody of the EFCC. “President Muhammadu Buhari had since December 2020 approved the transfer of monies earlier paid by International Oil Companies into the CBN/EFCC account now to be transferred to the CBN/NDDC account.”
Akpabio’s Chief Press Secretary further disclosed that “the two Senior Officials met and had a robust discussion and the Honourable Minister received very intelligent and useful input from the EFCC Chairman, Abdulrashed Bawa on the ongoing forensic audit of the Niger Delta Development Commission.”
“There was no issue of detention and Senator Akpabio could not have carried $350,000 into the office of the Chairman of the EFCC as he went there without a bag or a container. The EFCC Chairman Bawa gave useful and intelligent advice on the methodology of achieving success in the ongoing forensic audit of the NDDC. The Honourable Minister sought the cooperation of the EFCC to actualize recoveries of further 3% levies due to the Commission still being owed by some Oil and Gas Companies.”
Akpabio who further denied the claim by Sahara Reporters that the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, SAN facilitated his meeting with Abdulrasheed Bawa, further denied the allegation that he made efforts to bribe the EFCC Chairman with another $5 million to get Mr. Effiong Akwa elevated to the position of the Interim Administrator of the NDDC.
The Minister maintained that the appointment of Mr. Effiong Akwa was duly made by Mr. President in obedience to an exparte order of a court in suit number ABJ/CS/616/2020, before the Federal High Court, Abuja which restrained named Members of the Interim Management of the NDDC from carrying out their duties until the application for an order of Mandamus was argued and disposed off.
‘In that suit, the Court had ordered that the headship of the NDDC should be handed over to the most Senior Director pending the conclusion of the suit. The most Senior Director at that time happened to be Mr. Effiong Akwa, who, months earlier had replaced the late Executive Director of Finance and Administration, Chief Bassey Etang who passed on in May 2020 after a brief illness, and the originators of the suit did not replace the late Chief Etang with Mr. Akwa as a party in the suit hence his emergence as the Interim Administrator. How then does the name of the respected Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN come into the appointment of the Interim Administrator that was clearly a child of circumstance?
“The above explanation is to disabuse the minds of the general public against the falsehood peddled by the authors of the false and malicious publications. “The general public is hereby advised to discountenance the said publication as it is propelled by persons whose stock-in-trade is politics of blackmail now occasioned by the very serious progress made in respect of the ongoing Forensic Audit of the NDDC.”