Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Chat212 Report - EFCC Mulls Prosecution Of Akpabio

After two days of grilling over a corruption petition concerning the eight years of his stewardship as Governor of Akwa Ibom State, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, is now weighing options on whether it had gathered enough evidence to charge Senator Godswill Akpabio to court.

An EFCC source told Chat212, yesterday, that the commission was yet to decide if the former governor should be charged to court after interrogating him for two days, during which the Senate Minority Leader, was shown details of the expenditure, which the agency considered questionable.

However, the official, who pleaded anonymity because the commission was yet to make its position public, said that investigation on Akpabio had not been concluded and that he could still be summoned in connection with the probe being conducted by the agency.

The official said: “I can tell you that once we conclude the current phase of investigation on the former governor, we will decide if there is enough evidence to charge him to court.

“Once we are satisfied that we have a good case against him, we shall prosecute him.”

This is coming on the heels of planned moves by some supporters of the former governor to stage a peaceful demonstration against the extended interrogation of their ‘hero’ by EFCC in Abuja.

The supporters, Chat212 learned, were upset that EFCC grilled the former governor for two days despite all his monumental achievements during his eight-year tenure.

The protest would have taken place early in the week but for security intervention and counsel, which forced the protesters to leave the job for the leadership of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, which eventually issued a statement condemning the action.

PDP’s query

It will be recalled that the National Publicity Secretary of PDP, Chief Olisa Metuh, had addressed a press conference in Abuja on Sunday, calling the interrogation of Akpabio a selective, dictatorial action by the APC-led government meant to deplete the strength of his party ahead of the 2019 election.

This is also coming at a time when the man who petitioned Akpabio, Leo Ekpenyong, is unhappy with the EFCC Chairman’s handling of the interrogation of the former governor.

Petitioner calls for  Lamorde’s resignation

The lawyer, in a new petition to President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday, accused Lamorde of mentoring Akpabio on how to write statements that would enable him escape culpability in the corruption case, and asked that he should hands off the matter until a new helmsman is appointed for the agency.

Ekpenyong said that given the evidence already in public domain, there was no need for EFCC to be shopping for evidence to prosecute the former governor and retrieve the state’s funds from him and his associates.

Ekpenyong said: “Lamorde should resign because he is working in league with Akpabio to stall his prosecution. What he is doing now is mere window dressing in the media to give the impression that he is serious about trying the former governor.

“That is why I have sent a new petition to the Presidency to remove Lamorde from the case and appoint a man with integrity to handle the case.”

However, EFCC said last night that it would not comment on the lawyer’s new petition to Buhari until they get a copy.

It will be recalled that Akpabio was interrogated by EFCC on Friday and Saturday last week for hours over alleged diversion of Akwa Ibom State funds running into billions of Naira, a charge, he vehemently denied.