The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was said to have detained the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio after he allegedly attempted to bribe the Chairman of the anti-graft agency, Abdulrasheed Bawa.
Sources in the known told WazobiaReporters that Akpabio and five others who were with him, were held for about two hours on Monday, April 12 by the EFCC after the minister attempted to bribe Bawa with $350,000 (about N135 million).
According to one of the sources, “Akpabio may have decided to do his normal reach-out to the new EFCC Chairman because of the tons of corruption allegations against him, dating back to the time he was Governor of Akwa Ibom State.
“It took a call from the Aso Villa to the EFCC Chairman to get Akpabio and his aides released,” the source said.
Another top source in the EFCC said, “He arrived at the EFCC office with five others and headed to meet the newly appointed Chairman, Bawa.
“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.”
However, it was not clear as of the time of writing this report if the $350,000 had been released to Akpabio but a it was learnt that there had been enormous pressure on Bawa to return the money to the minister.
It should be recalled that there have also been allegations of over N40 billion fraud perpetrated in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) which is under the supervision of Akpabio’s ministry, explaining the pressure on Akpabio to clear the weight of corruption allegations hanging on his neck.
The Senate and the House of Representatives had last year resolved to probe the alleged over N40 billion financial recklessness of the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the NDDC in the previous three months.
But Akpabio, whose ministry supervises the agency, swiftly released a statement entitled “Re: National Assembly probes alleged N40bn corruption in NDDC”, saying under the supervision of the Niger Delta Affairs ministry, no corruption has been recorded in the NDDC.
Also, there have been allegations of over N86 billion contract scam involving Akpabio and the Acting Managing Director of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Prof. Kemebradikumo Pondei, which the EFCC has been looking into.
Noting the pressure on Akpabio, another source said, “Don’t forget he has tons of corruption cases with the EFCC right from when he was a governor. And now with NDDC scams in billions, he is under a lot of pressure.