The former governor of Akwa Ibom state and the senate minority leader has been reportedly arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
According to Premium Times, Akpabio was picked on Friday, October 16 at about 5.20pm. He was said have been accompanied a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) Ricky Tarfa and a few aides.
“He was brought in at about 5.20 pm accompanied by a few aides and Mr. Rickey Tarfa. It is not yet known whether he will be allowed to go this night. It depends on how the interrogation goes", a source at the agency toldthe online news portal.It was gathered that Akpabio is being grilled by top EFCC officials over alleged theft of N108.1billion of Akwa Ibom funds by the former governor.
As the investigation began in June after a lawyer and activist based in Abuja, Leo Ekpenyong forwarded a petition to President Muhammad buhari and the anti-graft agency, asking that Akpabio be probed for looting Akwa Ibom state treasury.
In his petition dated June 22, copying that Buhari and the Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase, Ekpenyong detailed Akpabio’s alleged financial recklessness.
He alleged that between January and December 2014, the ex-governor colluded with two of his top aides to steal N108.1 billion from the state’s treasury.
Ekpenyong also told the EFCC that the former Government House Permanent Secretary, Etekamba Umoren, and the former Accountant General of the state, Udo Isobara, colluded with Mr. Akpabio to steal the funds.
“Between January – December 2014, it is on record that the trio of Godswill Akpabio, Mr. Etekamba Umoren and Mr. Udo Isobara, made illegal but substantial withdrawals of cash from a designated state government-owned account with Zenith Bank with account number: 1010375881 amounting to N22.1 billion,” he stated in the petition.
“It is worthy of note that reasons for such ungodly cash withdrawals against financial regulations and due process laws range between sundry use and unjustifiable expenditures by Godswill Akpabio and his numerous surrogates and proxies.
“For example, a whopping N18 billion was withdrawn fraudulently from the state FAAC account with the United Bank for Africa in trenches of N10 million and above by Mr. Isobara in a surreptitious manner to conceal their dishonest intention.”
Ekpenyong said Umoren's reward for assisting Akpabio to launder the stolen funds was an appointment as the Government House Chief of staff. He is currently the secretary to the Akwa Ibom state government under udom emmanuak,s administration.
The petition also alleged that over N50 billion of Akwa Ibom funds were spent by the former governor during the last general elections.
“The cumulative aggregate of these monies stolen by Godswill Akpabio from the coffers of government as pocket money is the annual budget of some states in Nigeria put together,” the petition reads as stated.