There is a serious concern in the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) that the probe of Niger Delta Affairs Minister, Godswill Akpabio, by the anti-graft agency might be stalled.
Akpabio and the Acting Managing Director of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Prof. Kemebradikumo Pondei, who have been under heat since June over allegation of over N86 billion contract scam, silently landed in EFCC probe.
The leakage of their investigation at the anti-graft agency is causing some serious unease among EFCC’s top investigators.
The agency is suspecting the Leader of Foundation for True Freedom and Good Governance, Deji Adeyanju, to have made the Akpabio and Pondei probe by EFCC public.
“What he has done is a big problem for us. We don’t usually disclose anything when we are carrying out any investigation. Adeyanju was only invited to give more information. What he has done will likely sabotage our investigation”, EFCC says.
These two top public officials are still being investigated by the Senate and the House of Representatives.
An indication came from Foundation for True Freedom and Good Governance, a civic group that EFCC has begun an investigation into alleged financial misdeed by Akpabio and Pondei who dramatically fainted while he was being grilled by a House of Representatives panel in one of the probe sessions.
The anti-graft agency in a letter to the group, gave an indication of the probe, though it decried the leakage of the letter to the public.
Adeyanju requested EFCC to open investigation on Akpabio and Pondei over allegations of grave corruption at NDDC.
“We write to acknowledge the receipt of your petition dated August 3, 2020, in respect of the above subject and to inform you that investigation into the case has commenced.
In view of the above, you are kindly requested to attend an interview with the undersigned through the O/C team six on Thursday, August 20, 2020, at EFCC headquarters third floor”, the anti-graft agency said in the letter signed by its Head of Economic Governance Section, Adebayo Adeniyi.
In the meantime, Transparency Advocacy for Development Initiative (TADI) is calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to dissolve the board of NDDC and suspend Akpabio.
Executive Director of the group, Yomi David, said in a statement that the suspension, dissolution and reconstitution of a new board will entrench transparency and accountability in the agency.
“The Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs has been suffering immense neglect, and even the East-West road in the Niger Delta region has been abandoned by the ministry.
‘’We, therefore, call on the President to suspend the minister and the entire Interim Management Committee of NDDC for gross misconduct, mismanagement, fraud and corruption and to constitute a proper NDDC Board, as well as removing NDDC from the supervision of the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs.
‘’This is in order to reposition the Commission to carry out the mandate of meaningful development of the Niger Delta region and ensure lasting peace in the region”, he said.