‘Don’t Blame Gov Emmanuel Over YPP Guber Candidate’s Legal Travail’

A group, Akwa Ibom Integrity Alliance, AIIA, has described as devilish, wicked and malicious the attempt by some persons to blame governor Udom Emmanuel over the probe of Senator Bassey Akpan’s graft allegation by the Economic Financial Crime Commission, EFCC.

Senator Akpan who is the Governorship candidate of the Young Progressives Party in the state is currently being prosecuted by EFCC for financial impropriety and judgement is being expected on Friday, Nov. 25.

Some people however, had speculated that the governor, Mr Emmanuel fueled the legal prosecution the Governorship candidate of YPP is facing before the EFCC.

The governor on his part had cleared the air distancing himself from senator Akpan’s woes even as he claimed that he was not the governor when the case was instituted against him(Senator Akpan).

He said, “I entered Abuja, everybody was calling me saying this candidate said you want to imprison him. This matter came even before I became the governor. I don’t know the fact of the case, I’m not a judge, I don’t know anything. These people have cases with EFCC, let them go and sort out their cases and just leave blackmail and propaganda.”

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However, the Chairman of the group, Barr Stephen Abia in a statement in Uyo on Wednesday said it was unfair and uncharitable for the senator or any person to transfer blame to the Governor who neither originated the charges nor knew the facts of the case.

According to him, “to remotely or directly blame Governor Emmanuel for the probe of Bassey Akpan’s financial impropriety, was devilish, wicked and malicious.

“The case was purely on the heels of a probe of the infamous alleged slush funds against a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, where part of the funds where allegedly linked to a certain Jide Omokoro who confessed during investigation that he used the funds to bribe Senator Albert Akpan through car donations amounting to N204million to get contracts.

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“For the avoidance of doubts, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission arrested and detained Senator Akpan over cars that he had allegedly received as bribe from Jide Omokore while serving as Akwa Ibom Finance Commissioner and Chairman of the State Inter-Ministerial Direct Labour Coordinating Committee.

“Investigations show that the Omokore’s companies – Bay Atlantic Energy and Sahel Energy – received contracts from the Senator Akpan’s InterMinisterial Direct Labour Coordinating Committee and the EFCC claimed the vehicles were used to bribe Akpan.

“We have discovered that it is only on the basis of jurisdiction that the case could not be decided a long time ago when the trial was conducted at Justice O.A. Taiwo presided Federal High Court in Lagos, hence the case was reassigned to the federal high court in Uyo in line with Senator Albert Akpan’s argument that the offense took place in Uyo.

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“When he was testifying at the High Court, Senator Albert admitted receiving the cars from Omokaro but saying it was for his campaigns during the 2015 elections.”

The judgement is expected to be given on Friday.