- A top government official in Akwa Ibom state has been exonerated from corruption allegations
- The state House of Assembly gave an all-clear to the official after some media reports indicted him
- An anti-corruption group had earlier acquitted the official during a press briefing in Abuja
The accountant-general of Akwa Ibom, Pastor Uwem Andrew Essien, has been absolved of any wrongdoing and given a clean bill of health by the state House of Assembly.
The verdict was handed down by the legislative body after investigating allegations of misappropriation levelled against Essien in a news report.
Legit.ng gathered that the House had in December 2020, set-up an ad-hoc committee to investigate the report which bothers on the withdrawal of the 2019 statement and accounts of the state government by the Office of the Accountant General.
In a statement sent to Legit.ng on Friday, February 26, the committee said the allegations against the government official were baseless and illogical.
Chairman of the committee, Udo Kieran Akpan, cited alleged expenditure of N4.864 billion on Toyota Prado Jeeps and expenditure of N5.04 billion on the maintenance of the state aircraft by the Office of the Secretary to the State Government etc, as some of the issues investigated.
Akpan revealed that the Office of the Accountant General had on noticing errors in the account already published by the accountant-general, withdrew the published account and released a new version.
He said the alarm raised by Akwa Ibom people on the issues investigated was in good faith and intended to hold the government accountable.
Recall that a group, Civil Society Groups for Good Governance, CSGGG had dismissed the allegations against Essien.
Speaking to journalists in Abuja including a Legit.ng reporter on Friday, January 29, convener of CSGGGG, Comrade Ogakwu Dominic, described the accusation as mischievous, unwarranted, and unsubstantiated.
Comrade Dominic stated that those peddling the information are lazy and lack a clear understanding of how governments operate, adding that the allegation against the top Akwa Ibom government official is the handiwork of mischief makers and blackmailers.
In a related development, the Competent Governance For Accountability And Civic Trust (CGACT), has exonerated a top government official in Delta state from corruption allegations.
Convener of CGCAT, Ambassador Godwin Erheriene decried the campaign of calumny against Mr Edwin Ogidi Gbegbaje, permanent secretary and director of protocol Delta state Government House, Asaba at a press briefing attended by a Legit.ng reporter on Wednesday, January 27.
Ambassador Erherience also called on media houses to verify their reports before publishing them for public consumption.
Jerrywright Ukwu is an Abuja-based senior political/defence correspondent at Legit.ng. He is a graduate of the Nigerian Institute of Journalism, Lagos and the International Institute of Journalism in Abuja. He is also a member of the Nigeria Union of Journalists. He spends his leisure-time reading history books. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.