Trouble may be looming for the Abuja lawyer who wrote series of petitions to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission,
accusing former Akwa Ibom Governor, Chief Godswill Akpabio, of fleecing the state to the tune of N108.8 billion while in office.
Barely a week after the anti-graft agency questioned Akpabio twice within 72 hours in Abuja over the matter, the operatives swooped on Mr. Leo, asking him to substantiate most of the
allegations levelled against the former governor to enable them to either press ahead with the case or drop it.
But while the interrogation of Akpabio was going on, Ekpenyong
raised the alarm that EFCC was not serious in pressing charges
against him but was merely grooming him on how to escape trial because of his close relationship with the chairman of the EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde.
Apparently unimpressed with the way the commission had handled the investigation of Akpabio, Ekpenyong last week fired another petition to the Presidency, asking Mr. President to ask Lamorde to resign, having not been able to act on the petitions against the former governor.
He accused Lamorde of carrying out media trial of Akpabio but
actively working to support him so as to give the impression that
he was serious in bringing him to justice, while weakening the case against the former governor.
Vanguard learnt from an EFCC official that the agency was forced to summon the lawyer to clarify issues raised in his latest petition against Akpabio and Lamorde.
The official admitted the receipt of what he called ‘volumes’ of
petitions from the lawyer, who hails from Akwa Ibom State, but
wondered why he should attempt to stampeded the EFCC in
rushing into conclusion over his petitions.
The official said that it was wrong for the lawyer to accuse
Lamorde of conniving with Akpabio to frustrate the petitions since the investigation into the allegations was ongoing.
But contacted, EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, confirmed the invitation of Ekpenyong, who was grilled from 10 am till about 5pm on Monday but did not say why he was summoned after having been invited severally in the past to substantiate his claims against Sen Akpabio.
But Ekpenyong told our correspondent on the phone that he was asked by the EFCC to explain why he castigated Lamorde while investigation into Akpabio’s case was yet to be concluded by the agency.
The lawyer said: “They summoned me since morning and I have
just left the place (EFCC headquarters). I told them all that I have
put in my new petition and why I made certain claims against the chairman on a television station at the weekend.
“I gave them reasons why I wrote fresh petition to the Presidency and why I said that Lamorde was working in support of Akpabio and I have just been allowed to go,” Ekpenyong said.
It will be recalled that the lawyer had alleged among other things
that Akpabio fleeced Akwa Ibom to the tune of N108.8 billion,
using most of the funds to set up sprawling housing projects in
major Nigerian cities.
But Akpabio has vehemently denied the allegation, saying that
some of the houses mentioned as his, are mere leased property.
He said he did his best to develop Akwa Ibom given the money that was at his disposal at the time.
Akpabio said he deserves respect and accolades rather than
insults and unsubstantiated accusations.