Former Niger Delta Minister, Godswill Akpabio has described claims that he looted over N1 trillion while he was governor of Akwa Ibom State as a plot by those who want to blackmail him out of the contest for the presidency of 10th senate presidency.
Akpabio reacted to the allegation in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary to Akpabio, Mr. Jackson Udom.
“Investigation is not a conviction. Every public officer could be investigated after leaving office and that is the right thing to do,” Udom said while reacting to a call by some civil society organizations under the aegis of the Network against Corruption and Trafficking (NACAT) that Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) should investigate his boss over alleged financial impropriety.
While making the call at a news conference on Tuesday in Abuja, Justice Ojefia, Executive Director, Legal, NACAT claimed that Akpabio looted at least N700 billion for Akwa Ibom State treasury and over N200 billion NDDC funds as a minister.
According to him, an audit report of the Akwa Ibom State treasury between 2011 and 2015 indicated that Akpabio committed financial infractions amounting to N1 trillion while serving as governor.
He said the financial infractions and irregularities range from circumvention of procurement processes, suspicious payments of monies, and possible money laundering to the award of contracts to non-existent Shell Companies.
“To make Akpabio a Senate President is a reward for monumental corruption orchestrated in Akwa Ibom and the Ministry of Niger Delta and Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
But Jackson Udom refuted the allegation and said every public officer could be investigated after leaving office.
“Investigation is not a conviction. Every public officer could be investigated after leaving office and that is the right thing to do. Sen. Akpabio left office eight years ago after a meritorious service to Akwa Ibom and his legacies and performance as the state governor from 2007-2015, are still visible in the state.
“The question then is, why this letter to the EFCC now? Why all these blackmail and lies now? The answer is not far-fetched. Akpabio wants to be Senate President, he remains the candidate to beat and he must be brought down at all costs by those who can’t match his acceptance by his colleagues.
“His colleagues in the Stability Group are working round the clock to make him the Senate President of the 10th Senate, through the support of their colleagues across party lines.
“Their major concern is to give stability to the President-elect’s administration when it comes on stream on May 29, 2023,’’