- The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is investigating into suspicious N30 billion vote for direct labour projects during the tenure of ex-governor Godswill Akpabio
- The Akwa Ibom state government has refused to make relevant documents available to EFCC on the matter
- The attorney-general of state is said to have resorted to filing suits against the commission with a view to stalling investigation
A former commissioner for finance, Senator Albert Bassey has been summoned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission over a curious N30 billion vote for direct labour projects during the tenure of ex-governor Godswill Akpabio.
The Nation reports that the said cash was suspected to have been laundered into some private accounts.
The government of Akwa Ibom state is said to have denied to cooperate with the EFCC in getting relevant documents on how the N30billion was spent.
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Also, the ex-commissioner who is now a senator representing Akwa Ibom North East District, has not responded to the invitation of the anti-graft agency.
There were indications that he might be arrested after the EFCC has secured the relevant warrant from a court.
A fact-sheet from the EFCC said: ''The senator was commissioner for Finance during the administration of ex-Governor Godswill Akpabio. He was also the chairman of the Inter-ministerial direct labour coordinating committee.
''About N30 billion hit the account managed by the committee during the tenure of Akpabio. The funds came from Internally generated revenue and statutory allocations.
''Following allegation of massive wiring of the cash into private accounts, the EFCC decided to invite Senator Albert Bassey to come and give account. This agency is looking into allegation of money laundering against Bassey,
''Detectives have uncovered how contracts worth N618million to two companies namely Bay Atlantic Energy Services Limited and Sahel Energy/Power between 2010 and 2014. The companies belong to the owner of Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Limited, Chief Jide Omokore
''At about the same period under investigation, vehicles worth N303million were given out as gifts to Bassey by the owner of Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Limited especially between July 30, 2010 and January 8, 2014.
''From investigation by detectives, there is correlation between the transactions and the gifts. The Akwa Ibom state government has refused to make relevant documents available to EFCC.
''The ex-commissioner was invited at the preliminary stage and he honoured the invitation. But he has been summoned twice for interrogation but he did not come.
''He was given an appointment on Monday, he refused to meet with EFCC officials. The commission may apply for a warrant of arrest for Bassey accordingly.''
A top source said: ''If not for the attitude of the state government, the probe of N30billion would have signaled the investigation of petitions against the administration of Akpabio.
''Since 2017, the state has shielded its officers from appearing before EFCC teams. On March 7, 2017, the Commission had written to the Secretary to the state government asking for the release of Effiong Efiakedoho, permanent secretary, ministry of housing and special duties, to appear before the EFCC on March 13. He was summoned specifically in respect of matters related to Four Point by Sheraton Hotel, Raffia City Plaza, A 342 Highway. There was no response.
''An 8th May 2017 letter requesting the accountant -general of the state to appear at the Idiagbon House on May 18 was also ignored. The Accountant -General was specifically summoned in respect of an aspect of the investigation relating to a company, Sindeng Nigeria Limited.
''The commissioner for works was also invited through a letter of 19th May, 2017 and asked to report to the commission’s zonal office in Port Harcourt in respect to a road construction contract awarded to Nigturks Civil Technologies Limited. He too failed to honour the invitation.
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''A May 26, 2017 to the secretary to the state government to release the accountant general of the state for interrogation June 5, over the commercial agriculture credit scheme, was also ignored.
''The commission in two separate letters on June 7, 2017 re-invited the SSG and Efakedoho, PS Housing and special duties; and the accountant general for interrogation June 19. For the second time, the three state functionaries failed to honour the invitation.”
A top source said: ''Whilst investigative activities were ongoing, the EFCC wrote a letter to the secretary to Akwa Ibom state government sometime in 2016 requesting for the release of some serving officials of the State civil service for questioning at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja
''However, in response to the letter of invitation sent by the EFCC, the attorney-general of Akwa Ibom state resorted to filing suits against the commission with a view to stalling investigation.''
Meanwhile, Legit.ng had reported that the EFCC has made a massive pledge to Nigerians to serve them even better.
The anti-corruption agency made the vow in a tweet on its official Twitter handle late on Friday, April 21. According to the Commission, it is committed to serving the country and will ensure that it does not disappoint the Nigerian people.
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