By Emeka Samuel, Uyo
A socio political advocacy group, Akwa Ibom Integrity Alliance has advised the state guber candidate of YPP, Senator Bassey Akpan and his supporters to stop dragging Governor Udom Emmanuel into his legal problems.
The group in a reaction by its Chairman, Barr Stephen Abia yesterday in Uyo said it was unfair and uncharitable for the embattled senator to transfer blames of his travails to the doorsteps of the Governor who did not originate the charges against the Senator.
The group opined that to remotely or directly blame Governor Emmanuel for the probe of Bassey Akpan’s financial impropriety, was mischievous.
“From investigations by our team of professionals, Governor Emmanuel was not in office as Governor, when the case of bribery and corruption against Bassey Albert Akpan commenced.
“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.
“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,” the statement said.
It stated that the case was transferred to Uyo on the request of the Senator while no official of the state government has ever been involved in the matter.
“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.
“When he was testifying at the High Court, Senator Albert admitted receiving the car bribe from Omokaro and further brought some members of his campaign team as witnesses that they were given the contentious vehicles to campaign for Albert’s elections in 2015.
“Throughout the duration of this trial and till this moment, there is no record that the Akwa Ibom State government was a party in the case, nor can it be said that Governor Emmanuel or any of his appointees had testified in the case. It is therefore worrisome that Senator Bassey Albert would come out to castigate the Governor for a sin he allegedly committed when Governor Emmanuel had not assumed office,” the group maintained.
Judgement in the case is expected to come up on Friday this week at the Federal High Court in Uyo.