Akpabio’s lawyer faults claim on constituency project diversion

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Leo Ekpenyong, the lawyer to former Akwa Ibom State Governor Godswill Akpabio, has faulted claims of alleged diversion of constituency projects by the former governor.

The lawyer noted that the claims were politically motivated by those he called desperate politicians.

Ekpeyong, who is the Managing Director of De-bongos Media, made the clarification in a statement Monday in Abuja.

He was reacting to calls by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) that the senator should be invited for questioning by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related offences commission (ICPC) over the projects.

SERAP had petitioned the Chairman of ICPC, Bolaji Owasanoye, and the Acting Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, on Akpabio and Isa Misau over alleged diversion of constituency projects.

The statement reads: “Senator Akpabio was neither the contractor nor was he involved in the contract execution process.

“The supplies of hospital equipment, provision of solar-powered boreholes, VIP toilets, construction of markets across the 10 local government areas of Akwa Ibom Northwest Senatorial District, donation of skills acquisition/recreational centres are all eloquent expressions of Senator Akpabio’s stellar performance just in four years.

“Shortly after Senator Akpabio’s uncommon defection on August 8, 2018, he empowered his constituents with N250,000 each, and about 450 farmers benefited from this gesture, which was in collaboration with Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN).

“It is noteworthy to also state without any fear of contradiction that 1,200 men and women received N100,000 cash gift each for entrepreneurship development of various vocations geared towards poverty alleviation and development of the local economy on June 8, 2019 in a closing ceremony of his exit from the Eighth Senate.

“Earlier in January, 11,600 beneficiaries obtained N10,000 each alongside start-up packs in collaboration with the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) and Future Assured Programme, a pet project of the wife of Mr. President; again, not limited to the senatorial district of Senator Akpabio.

“Available documentary evidence in the public domain revealed that the Border Communities Development Agency, saddled with the onerous task and responsibility of ensuring the execution of sustainable socio-economic and infrastructural development of border communities in Nigeria, handled some of Senator Akpabio’s constituency projects. In a letter dated, July 16, through its director in charge of Projects Development and Implementation, Mallam Farouk Maitarure, clarified unequivocally that the contractor had performed the supply of the said hospital equipment in full, as contained in the bill of quantities though payment by the agency had not been fully liquidated.

“Against this background, we frown at SERAP’s orchestrated cheap blackmail and brazen display of infantile mischief.

“Senator Akpabio, instead of vilification, deserves due commendation for his meaningful contributions to the growth and development of his people to encourage people-centred programmes and policies of government.

“It needs not be over-emphasised that beyond all doubt, Senator Akpabio remains an uncommon performer with undying love for Nigerians, any day any time.”

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