NIGERIA’S Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) has recovered public hospital equipment from the private premises of the Mma Obot Foundation belonging to former Akwa Ibom State governor Senator Godswill Akpabio.
Senator Akpabio, who governed Akwa Ibom State between 2007 and 2015, is regarded as a very robust and authoritarian character who does not tolerate dissent. After serving as governor for eight years, he was elected as the senator representing Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial District and subsequently became the senate minority leader.
Just before Nigeria’s last elections in February, he defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and joined the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). He stood for senate as an APC candidate and lost but has just been named as a minister by President Muhammadu Buhari and is expected to take office as the Federal Minister for Niger Delta Affairs.
This is despite the fact that Senator Akpabio has corruption charges pending against him, with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), investigating him over a $300m fraud case. Now the ICPC claims that it discovered that equipment meant for constituency projects, given to Senator Akpabio, was discovered on the premises of his private foundation.
ICPC spokesperson Rasheedat Okoduwa, said: “Among the recoveries so far made by the Constituency Projects Tracking Group (CPTG) team are dialysis machine, ECG monitors, oxygen regulators, anaesthetic machines, generators and other hospital equipment meant for a cottage hospital in Ukana, Essien Udim Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, from the premises of Mma Obot Foundation, alleged to belong to Senator Godswill Akpabio. It has so far led to multiple recoveries of items, hospital equipment, vehicles and funds and has also forced many contractors, who hitherto had abandoned projects, to return to site to complete them.”
He added that the commission has also recovered six tractors from a farm belonging to Senator Isa Misau, who represented Bauchi Central Senatorial District. Ms Okoduwa said the six tractors recovered from Misau were meant to be used by farmers in the six council areas of the Bauchi Central Senatorial District.
She added: “ The tractors formed part of the N430m contract for the supply of pumping machines and other agricultural machinery to farmers in the senatorial district, which was awarded in 2015 by the federal government as part of the senators’ constituency projects across the nation. The CPTG team for Bauchi discovered that N76.6m was paid for the tractors in December 2015 and supplied in March 2016.
“They were supposed to have been distributed for the use of farmers in each of the six local government areas in the senatorial district that included Misau, Dambam, Ningi, Warji, Darazo and Ganjuwa. It was found out that the tractors had obviously not been distributed as required in the terms of the contract.”