Former Gov. Akpabio in panic: withdraws #17.4billion from Zenith, Stanbic, GTB accounts
Barely 24 hours after news broke that the EFCC has frozen the personal account of Ekiti State Governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose, former Akwa Ibom State Governor and Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio who is currently being investigated by the EFCC over allegations of embezzlement of public funds
and looting of over #2.7 trillion from the coffers of the Akwa Ibom State Government hurriedly withdrew #17.4 billion from his bank accounts. The withdrawals were made simultaneously in Abuja, Lagos and Uyo the Akwa Ibom State capital. The money were withdrawn from Akpabio’s account in Zenith, Stanbic IBTC and GTB. An aide of the Secretary to the Akwa Ibom State Government (SSG) coordinated the Uyo withdrawal, an associate of the former Governor handled the Lagos withdrawals while a senior legislative aide at the office of the Senate Minority Leader took charge of the Abuja withdrawals. Investigation by our reporter reveals the withdrawals were done within a period of four hours.
Also, fear, panic, anxiety and apprehension was visible in Ukana, Akpabio’s ancestral hometown as an emergency meeting of Akpabio’s immediate family was summoned secretly on Tuesday night at the Ukana country home of Senator Akpabio, just hours upon receiving the news of the freezing of the bank account of the Governor of Ekiti State. Sources privy to the meeting confided in our reporter that the likelihood of the EFCC freezing the accounts of other members of the Akpabio dynasty was also discussed. A visibly shaken family member was alleged to have faulted Akpabio’s call for the immunity clause to be extended to principal members of the National Assembly, insisting that apart from compelling the anti graft agencies to beam more searchlight on Akpabio, his advocacy is capable of instigating a more aggressive investigation on the finances of Akwa Ibom State from 2007-2015, especially coming at a time Akpabio’s former finance commissioner and colleague in the Senate, Senator Bassey Albert is also asking for amnesty to all who have looted the state treasury.
A cousin to the Senate Minority Leader who benefitted from several contracts running into billions of Naira when Akpabio was Governor was said to have been cold and sober all through the meeting and hurriedly cancelled his trip to Dubai. He was initially billed to travel to the emirate country with his family. The meeting which lasted for more than three hours was also attended by a regional manager of one of the new generation banks in Uyo.
It could be recalled that the personal account of the Governor of Ekiti State, Mr Ayodele Fayose and that of his associates was on Monday frozen by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC). Fayose Speaking at the premises of Zenith Bank, Ado-Ekiti, where he had his personal account, the governor claimed that he had gotten winds of plans by the Presidency to freeze his account some days earlier. A source at the Bank told the visibly surprised Governor Fayose that his account was allegedly frozen on the order of the anti-graft agency.
The Governor said, he had earlier issued a counter-cheque to make withdrawal and was rejected by the bank located at Onigari , GRA in Ado Ekiti, describing the action as criminal and illegal. Citing Section 308 of the 1999 constitution, Fayose said he enjoys immunity as a sitting governor , urging the federal government to fight corruption within the ambit of the law.
In a related development, human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, has criticized Akpabio’s call for a proposed life pension and immunity from prosecution for Bukola Saraki, the Senate President, and other presiding officers of the National Assembly.
In a statement Sunday, Mr. Falana described Akpabio’s proposal as insensitive, irrational, and immoral.
“Indeed, it is the height of insensitivity for legislators to propose life pension for their leaders at a time that workers are owed arrears of salaries in many states of the federation,” said Mr. Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria.
The lawmakers, at the end of a two-day retreat on constitution review on Saturday, took the decision to shield its presiding officers, as well as those of state Houses of Assemblies, from prosecution.
They argued that since the other two arms of government – executive and judiciary – are enjoying immunity, the third arm ought to follow suit. Mr. Saraki is currently facing prosecution for forgery and false and anticipatory assets declaration, while Ike Ekweremadu, his deputy, is being tried for forgery
Mr. Falana said the lawmakers’ proposal to shield their presiding officers from prosecution is “provocative.”
“No serious nation can grant immunity to legislators who have been linked with criminal diversion of public funds, forgery and rape,” he said.
“We can assure the concerned members of the public that the satanic proposals of the legislators will not succeed.
“It is pertinent to inform the legislators that the members of the human rights community have resolved to mobilize the Nigerian people to reject both proposals.”