Mr Godswill Akpabio, ex-governor of Akwa Ibom State, has been arrested by the EFCC. The commission is accusing Akpabio of embezzling N108.1 billion of public funds while serving as the governor of his state between 2007 and 2015.
The EFCC has confirmed that Akpabio is in their custody and is being interrogated by elite unit of the commission’s crime busters.
The anti-corruption agency had started investigation into alleged stealing of N108.1billion of Akwa Ibom funds by Akpabio in June this year – following a written petition by one Mr. Leo Ekpenyong, an Abuja based lawyer.
A senior official of the anti-graft agency confirmed hat the Senate Minority Leader was picked up by the agency’s operatives at about 5:30pm in his house in Abuja and questioned at the EFCC headquarters for several hours.
Asked whether the ex-governor would be detained till Monday or not, the source said: “I am not in a position to confirm that. Let’s wait and see what will happen before tomorrow.”
However, the latest information from sources close to the developing story indicates that a team of senior lawyers working for Akpabio is pulling all the stops to pry him from EFCC custody this night. The lawyers were reportedly overheard boasting that they would not allow the former governor to sleep in EFCC cell.
However, elombah.com learnt he was released around 11pm.
In the petition dated June 22, 2015, Mr. Ekpenyong had stated that between January and December 2014, the ex-governor colluded with two of his personal aides to steal a huge sum of N108.1 billion from the state’s treasury.
According to him, “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’’.
“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 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“For example, a whopping N18 billion was withdrawn fraudulently from the state FAAC account with the United Bank for Africa in trenches of N10 million and above by Mr.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.”
In the period under review, the petitioner added that the ex-governor also withdrew a huge sum of N18 billion from the state account under the guise of special services, reception of very important guests and sundry items.
He added: “The cumulative aggregate of these monies stolen by Akpabio from the coffers of government as pocket money is the annual budget of some states in Nigeria put together.”
Among the properties, which the petitioner claimed the ex-governor acquired through proxies include, a multi-billion naira mansion at Plot 5 Okogosi Spring Close, off Katsina-Ala Crescent, Maitama-Abuja; a multi-billion naira mansionette at Plot 28 Colorado Close, Maitama, Abuja and another multi-billion naira mansion at 22 Probyn Road, Ikoyi, Lagos.
Others include a multi-billion naira property at Plot 23 Olusegun Aina Street, Parkview, Lagos; a multi-billion naira 25 storey building and others in Lagos.