UPDATED: EFCC grills Akpabio over alleged fraud

Godswill Akpabio, former governor of Akwa Ibom state and minority leader of the senate, is currently in the custody the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

A source at the anti-graft agency confirmed this to TheCable, disclosing that the ex-governor was taken into custody Friday evening.

“Yes, Akpabio is in our custody, and he is undergoing interrogation for alleged fraud and looting of Akwa Ibom funds when he was governor,” the source said.

TheCable understands that the investigation of Akpabio by the EFCC followed a petition from Leo Ekpenyong, an Abuja-based lawyer, who alleged that the former governor used his aides- Etekamba Umoren and Udo Isobara- to steal from the state’s treasury.

‎“Between January –December 2014, it is on record that the trio of Godswill Akpabio, Mr Etekamba Umoren and Mr. Udo Isobara, made illegal but substantial withdrawals of cash from a designated state government-owned account with Zenith Bank with account number: 1010375881 amounting to N22.1 billion,” Ekpenyong said in the‎ petition.

“It is worthy of note that reasons for such ungodly cash withdrawals against financial regulations and due process laws range between sundry use and unjustifiable expenditures by Godswill Akpabio and his numerous surrogates and proxies.

“For example, a whopping N18 billion was withdrawn fraudulently from the state FAAC account with the United Bank for Africa in trenches of N10 million and above by Mr. Isobara in a surreptitious manner to conceal their dishonest intention.”‎

‎The senate minority leader was released after hours of interrogation on Friday night.

“A young lawyer from my state has been petitioning the EFCC accusing me of corruption,” he said to journalists shortly after he departed the EFCC office.‎

“So, shortly before I got involved in an accident in August, the EFCC summoned me to come and respond to the allegations. But following the accident, I wasn’t well enough to honour the EFCC summon. And I let them know.

“So today, since I’m now well, and the Senate did not sit, I decided to honour the EFCC so as to answer questions concerning the allegations against me. I wasn’t arrested. I walked in there myself and now I’m back at home. The EFCC operatives were professional. They asked questions, and I answered.”