- Lawmaker arrested over N303m vehicles received as ‘gifts’
Senator Iroegbu in Abuja
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has said the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator representing Akwa Ibom North-East, Senator Bassey Akpan, would remain in detention until his arraignment in court.
Akpan who was arrested last Tuesday for allegedly receiving vehicles worth over N303 million from oil mogul Babajide Omokore, is standing trial for fraud.
The Head of Media and Public Relations, EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, in a chat with THISDAY thursday, confirmed that the lawmaker is still being detained for further interrogation.
Even though Uwujaren did not provide further update on whether Akpan would be charged to court or released on bail.
But a source within the commission said that the senator would remain in EFCC custody until it secures a judge to handle his trial. While in detention, the lawmaker was to explain why he received such number of the vehicles worth hundreds of millions of naira from a crime suspect.
“The commission is yet to perfect the arraignment, there is no judge yet. So he will have to be detained and interrogated until his trial starts. He can only be released if there is any development beyond the available information,” the source said.
Akpan who is the current Chairman, Senate Committee on Gas (Upstream), is the first person to be taken into custody in the new EFCC Headquarters shortly after it was inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari on same day of his arrest (Tuesday).
The senator who was a commissioner for finance under the Godswill Akpabio administration, was said to have evaded arrest for several months.
According to EFCC report, Akpan, was to explain whether the vehicles were kickbacks for giving contracts worth billions of naira to Omokore as a the then Chairman of the Inter-ministerial Direct Labour Coordinating Committee.
Omokore’s companies; Bay Atlantic Energy and Sahel Energy, were said to have received contracts from the committee headed by Akpan, which was to ensure that the government projects were completed using direct labour to save some money for the state.
The report revealed vehicles allegedly received by Akpan from the oil magnate to include: Range Rover luxury cars, campaign buses, and trucks allegedly were bought with the proceeds of fraud.
“Senator Bassey Akpan received a BMW X5 BP worth N50m; an Infinity QX56BP worth N45m; a Range Rover worth N40m; three Toyota Hiace buses worth N27m; two Toyota Hiace high-roof buses worth N16m, six Toyota Hilux D cabin vehicles worth N42m as well as other vehicles worth N83m.
“He received the vehicles from Omokore while heading a committee which was giving contracts to the same Omokore.
“He has been invited on several occasions but he has refused to show up,” the report read.