EXCLUSIVE: I’m Undergoing Treatment For Cardiac Arrhythmia, Lung Disease Abroad – Ex-Minister, Akpabio Postpones EFCC Invitation Over Multi-Billion Naira Fraud
Godswill Akpabio, former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs says he will not honour the invitation of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFFC), to report to its office.
EFCC had in a letter asked Akpabio to appear at its office on March 29, 2023.
However, the Senator-elect in a letter to the commission by his lawyer, Umeh Kalu, and obtained by SaharaReporters on Wednesday, said he would not be available due to ill health as he had already arranged medical appointments overseas.
According to Akpabio, he is suffering from pneumonia and cardiac arrhythmia.
Pneumonia is inflammation of the lungs, usually caused by an infection while cardiac arrhythmia is an abnormal heart rhythm.
The former minister asked the anti-graft commission to pick another date after the forthcoming Easter and Ramadan holidays.
The letter read, “We continue to act as solicitors to Senator Godswill Akpabio and write you at his instance. We write to convey our client’s inability to honour the scheduled visit to your office on the 29th day of March, 2022, due to il health, and, already arranged medical appointments overseas.
“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.
“This request is in no way intended to disrespect your high office, even as we regret every conceivable inconvenience that our request will occasion on you and your team of operatives. Please accept the assurances of our professional regards, while thanking you for your understanding.”
SaharaReporters had in 2021 reported how the senator-elect was detained after he attempted to bribe the Chairman of the anti-graft agency, Abdulrasheed Bawa with $350,000 (about N135million).
According to sources, Akpabio was trying to bribe the EFCC Chairman because of the tons of corruption allegations against him, dating back to the time he was governor of Akwa Ibom State.
It was learnt that the meeting between Akpabio and Bawa was arranged by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN).
SaharaReporters gathered that it took a call from the Aso Villa to the EFCC Chairman to get Akpabio and his aides released.
A top source in the EFCC had said, “He arrived at the EFCC office with five others and headed to meet the newly appointed Chairman, Bawa.
“The Attorney General of the Federation who was recently arranged the meeting for the minister. You remember his bribery issue with Malami himself involving $5 million.
“He was ushered in at 1 pm to see the EFCC chairman while carrying the money personally. He was arrested and detained, along with his aides, all six of them. It was a call from the Villa that got him released after two hours.”
There had been allegations of N40 billion fraud perpetrated in the NDDC, a ministry which was headed by Akpabio for three years.
The Senate and the House of Representatives in 2020 resolved to probe the alleged N40 billion financial recklessness of the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the NDDC in the previous three months.
Also, there were allegations of over N86 billion contract scam involving the senator-elect and the former Acting Managing Director of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Prof. Kemebradikumo Pondei, which the EFCC has been looking into.
The anti-graft agency had in the past arrested Akpabio over alleged theft of N108.1billion of Akwa Ibom funds.
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