EFCC invites Akpabio for interrogation over corruption allegation

By Gabriel Olawale

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has again invited the former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, for interrogation over an investigation concerning corruption allegations against him.

This is coming on the backdrop of a recent report that the President-elect, Bola Tinubu had concluded plans to support Akpabio’s Senate presidency bid.

Meanwhile, there had been allegations of a N40 billion fraud perpetrated in the Niger Delta Development Commission, which was headed by Akpabio for three years.

In 2020, the Senate and the House of Representatives resolved to probe the alleged N40 billion financial recklessness of the Interim Management Committee of the NDDC.

Also, there were allegations of over N86 billion contract scams involving the senator-elect and a former Acting Managing Director of the NDDC, Prof Kemebradikumo Pondei, which the EFCC had been investigating.

It was reported that the anti-graft agency had in the past arrested Akpabio over the alleged theft of N108.1 billion of Akwa Ibom funds.

The EFCC had earlier invited Akpabio to appear for questioning on March 29 but his lawyer, Umeh Kalu, SAN, in a letter to the anti-graft agency alleged that his client was suffering from pneumonia and cardiac arrhythmia.

Kalu, while pleading with the EFCC to reschedule the questioning to a new date, had said Akpabio would be unable to honour the invitation on March 29 due to alleged ill health, adding that the Senator-elect had already arranged medical appointments overseas.

He, therefore, said, “As mentioned in our last letter to you dated February 10, 2023, our client is undergoing treatment for pneumonia and cardiac arrhythmia, and, has recently been advised to seek further attention abroad.

“It is in the light of the above that we respectfully request that our client’s appointment with you be rescheduled to a date convenient to your officers, preferably after the forthcoming Easter and Ramadan holidays,” the letter from Kalu dated March 27, 2023, reads.

The latest invite was revealed in a letter obtained by an online newspaper, SaharaReporters, which was sighted by our correspondent on Friday.

According to the letter dated April 13, 2023, which was received by Akpabio’s lawyers, Seasons Law Firm, the following day, the EFCC asked Akpabio to come to its headquarters in Abuja on May 9, 2023.

The letter titled, ‘Investigation Activities Re: Senator Godswill Akpabio’s Appointment Letter Of Invitation’ was signed by ACE II SM Ala, Head, CMU-1.

It reads, “I refer to your letter number dated March 27, 2023, on the above subject. In view of the above, you are kindly requested to inform your client Senator Godswill Akpabio to personally report for an interview with the undersigned through the Head, CMU-1 team on May 9, 2023, at 5th Floor, EFCC Headquarters Plot 301/302 Institutions and Research District. Jabi, Abuja at 10:00 am.”