Minister of Niger Delta Affairs Senator Godswill Akpabio has denied being detained for two hours after attempting to bribe the chairman of Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) with $350,000.
He described his purported detention by some online platforms as another piece of fabrication, insisting he never offered bribe neither was he detained by the anti-graft agency chairman.
An online platform on Friday reported the Minister was detained for two hours for allegedly offering bribe $350,000 to EFCC chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa before he was released on the orders of Presidency.
But in a statement on Saturday in Abuja, the Minister through his Chief Press Secretary, Anietie Ekong, picked holes in the publication which went viral on Friday.
Faulting the report, the Minister denied being invited but disclosed he sought audience with the EFCC chairman to discuss the transfer of funds belonging to the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) in respect of the 3 percent statutory remittances from Oil and Gas Companies in the custody of the agency.
The statement reads: “For the information of the general public, the Honourable Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio has no reason to offer a bribe to the new Chairman of the EFCC, Abdulrasheed Bawa and never did.
“On Wednesday, April 14, 2021 the Honourable Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio through a telephone call sought audience with the new Chairman of the EFCC to discuss the transfer of funds belonging to the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) in respect of the 3% statutory remittances from Oil and Gas Companies in the custody of the EFCC.
“President Muhammadu Buhari had since December 2020 approved the transfer of monies earlier paid by International Oil Companies into the CBN/EFCC account now to be transferred to the CBN/NDDC account.”
The statement explained the meeting, which started at about 12 noon, was postponed till around 5 pm to enable the Minister to attend a security meeting with select South-South/South-East leaders and Governors in the Office of the National Security Adviser slated for 1.30 pm on the same day.
It added: “The Minister returned to the office of the EFCC chairman at about 5.45 pm and departed thereafter at about 6.20 pm after very resourceful deliberations.
“There was no issue of detention and Senator Akpabio could not have carried $350,000 into the office of the Chairman of the EFCC as he went there without a bag or a container.
“The EFCC Chairman Bawa gave useful and intelligent advice on the methodology of achieving success in the ongoing forensic audit of the NDDC.
“The Minister sought the cooperation of the EFCC to actualise recoveries of further 3% levies due to the Commission still being owed by some Oil and Gas Companies.”
On the alleged role of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami, on the visit, the statement added: “The meeting between the duo was not arranged by the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, SAN.”
It also denied Akpabio bribed Malami, stressing “for the umpteenth time, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs did not bribe the Honourable Attorney-General with $5 million as alleged to get Mr. Effiong Akwa elevated to the position of the Interim Administrator of the NDDC.”
Rather, it said the appointment of Effiong Akwa was duly made by President Muhammadu Buhari in obedience to an exparte order of court in suit number ABJ/CS/616/2020, before the Federal High Court, Abuja.