EXCLUSIVE: Ex-DG DSS Caught In Corruption, Land-Grabbing Mess
Former Director General of the Department of State Security [DSS], Mr. Ita Ekanem Ekpeyong has been indicted in a corruption scandal of unlawful enrichment while in office and land-grabbing.
His trouble started when one Dr. Sanni Umar Abubakar instructed the George Uboh Whistleblowers Network [GUWN] to institute case against Mr. Ekpeyong for illegally taking his land.
The incident took place when he held sway as the DG DSS in or around 2011.
Dr. Abubakar had taken the case to an FCT High Court and won but the former DG DSS appealed.
However, a criminal dimension of corruption, impunity and flagrant disregard for extant law have been attached to the case.
The case raised dust over how a common civil servant and public office holder can afford building and vehicles valued at over 1.1 billion Naira which raised concerns of unlawful enrichment while in office.
The case also involved a former FCT minister who, in the words of GUWN, “knowingly and fraudulently awarded or allowed you to build on a land belonging to someone else”.
In a letter addressed to Mr. Ekpeyong dated Monday, September 17, 2018, and copied to Amnesty International, GUWN chairman, Dr. George Uboh deemed the manner in which this case has been handled not to be in the public interest.
He, hence, expressed readiness to address the violations meted out by Ekpeyong to Dr. Abubakar.
The letter titled “Re: Letter Of Instruction: Illegal Seizure Of My Land By Ekanem Ekpeyong, Former DG SSS”, reads in part:
We have been duly instructed by Dr. Sanni Umar Abubakar who alleged with proof that you illegally took his land when you held sway as the DG DSS in or around 2011.
While we are not unmindful of the fact that the case was in the FCT high court which he won and you appealed.
However, because the case has a criminal dimension of corruption, impunity and flagrant disregard for extant law involving you and former FCT minister who knowingly and fraudulently awarded or allowed you to build on a land belonging to someone else, we have deemed the manner in which this case has been handled not to be in the public interest hence GUWN will address the violations you meted out to our client in the court of public opinion and ensure that justice is served in the public interest including petitioning the criminal aspect to the President and Commander-in-Chief, considering the high position you have held.
In Military Government of Lagos State V. Chief Odimegwu Ojukwu, supreme court Justice Oputa made clear that any case in court has three parties (not two), to wit: Plaintiff, Defendant and Public.
Therefore, any case must be discharged in the public interest. Stealing someone’s land and tying the matter in civil court for 6-7yrs does not serve public interest.
Accordingly, we give you seven days to proffer any mitigating facts, failure of which we shall construe as acquiescence and, after seven days, hold our usual press conference to let Nigerians know the fraud you perpetrated while in office followed by our formal petition on the criminal aspect of the case.
Dr. Abubakar alleges threats to life as well spanning years which is tied to this matter, because the callers always tell him to drop this case.
We shall copy Amnesty International this letter, and write them a separate letter formally notifying them of the long standing threat.
GUWN, therefore, considering the criminal-minded actions of Ekpeyong, demanded that he willingly give up the land, house and the vehicles therein.
Dr. Uboh will later follow up with another letter to Mr. Ita Ekpeyong, dated Thursday, September 20, 2018, reminding him of the impending danger of allowing the case to drag.
He wrote in part:
While in office as the substantive DG of SSS you procured the above-captioned: land, opulent building with several vehicles parked therein belonging to you (photos and videos in our possession); all valued at approximately N1,100,000,000:00.
We have visited the house, taken photos and videotaped the exterior, interior, vehicles etc.
The whistleblower policy, which the undersigned drafted, empowers us to furnish this information to any of the law enforcement agencies for recovery and payment of our 5% whistleblowers fees.
You have seven (7) days to either acquiesce to the ownership of the aforementioned assets or deny same.
If we do not hear from you after the expiration of the seven (7) days, we shall construe your silence as acquiescence to ownership and we shall blow the whistle officially with the attendant press conference during which we shall stream the video of the assets to all media houses to showcase the work done through our whistleblowing efforts.
Mr. Ekpeyong is yet to respond to the allegations levelled against him by the whistleblowers network.