Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, the Deputy President of the Senate, has debunked allegations that he instructed the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to probe the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio.
Recall that estranged Akpabio, a former senator in the 8th National Assembly, had been in a running battle with the House of Representatives and Senators over allegations of N40 billion corruption in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) under his supervision.
Akpabio is also in the eyes of the storm over claims by Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, Chairman, Senate Committee on Niger Delta that he allegedly used his position and influence as then Senate Minority Leader to secure the contracts worth N500million from the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) but failed to execute same.
The minister, however, has since denied the allegation, saying it was a smear campaign against him and that Nwaoboshi was jittery over the forensic audit of the NDDC.
However, a letter making the rounds over the weekend alleged that the Deputy Senate President, Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege had mandated the Clerk of the National Assembly, Sani Ataba Omolori to write a petition to the EFCC against Akpabio over alleged malfeasance and money laundering.
The said letter alleged that a certain $4.9bn Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) contract award to Osmoserve for supply of relief materials for the COVID-19 pandemic across the nine states of the Niger Delta was linked to Akpabio.
In the said letter addressed to the Chairman of EFCC with a reference no. NASS/CS/99/R/21/19, the Clerk of the Senate stated that he was directed by the office of the Deputy Senate President to request the assistance of the EFCC “in an ongoing inquiry into the affairs of the core members of the Interim Management Committee of the NDDC”.
According to the letter titled, “SENATE REQUESTS THE INVESTIGATION AND MONITORING OF MINISTER OF NIGER DELTA AFFAIRS HON. GODSWILL AKPABIO AND POSSIBLE CRIMINAL AFFILIATE MR. SCOTT IKOTT TOMMEY”, the Senators are overriding the adhoc-committee already inaugurated to look into the alleged misappropriation of N40 billion by the Minister and the IMC.
But Senator Omo-Agege, on Sunday, denied that the letter said to have emanated from the Clerk of the Senate, acting on his behalf and requesting the Chairman of the anti-graft agency, Mr Ibrahim Magu to investigate the Minister did not come from him.
Describing the document as fake, the Deputy President of the Senate insisted that he never instructed the Clerk or any other person to contact the EFCC to investigate any individual.
A statement signed by Yomi Odunuga, Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, to the Deputy President of the Senate, reads: “The attention of the Office of the Deputy President of the Senate has been drawn to a letter dated 7th May, 2020, purportedly written by the Clerk of the Senate acting on behalf of the Office of Deputy President of the Senate requesting the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate and monitor the Honourable Minister of Niger Delta Affairs and one other.
“This Office hereby states that the said letter is false, fake, malicious, mischievous and vexatious.
“This Office never instructed the Clerk of the Senate, or in fact any person, to write to or contact the EFCC in relation to any person.
“In the light of the foregoing, we wish to urge the public to disregard the fake letter, same being the handiwork of a person or persons with criminal intents.”