By Soni Daniel
Abuja – A serving Senator from Akwa Ibom State, Bassey Albert Akpan, has been detained by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission over his alleged receipt of vehicles worth N303 million from an oil baron, now standing trial for financial crimes.
Senator Akpan, who represents Uyo Senatorial District in the upper legislative chamber, was arrested taken into EFCC custody since Tuesday by operatives of the anti-graft agency.
Spokesman for the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, confirmed the arrest following an enquiry by Vanguard last night.
“Yes, he is with us,” Wilson said, but did not give further details of the arrest.
He also did not say when the lawmaker would either be charged to court or released on bail.
But the arrest, it was gathered, was to enable the lawmaker to state his role in the receipt of exotic vehicles worth N1.1 billion from the promoter of Bay Atlantic Energy and Sahel Energy ahead of the 2015 presidential polls.
A report by the EFCC alleged that the Senator received vehicles worth N303m from Omokore while he was the Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Finance as well as the Chairman of the Inter-ministerial Direct Labour Coordinating Committee whose job was to ensure that government projects were completed using direct labour approach to save some money for the state.
At the same time, two of Omokore’s companies – Bay Atlantic Energy and Sahel Energy – were said to have received contracts from the committee headed by Akpan.
The report added, “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. He was supposed to come to the EFCC office on Monday (yesterday) but he refused to come.”
EFCC contends that the vehicles, which ranged from Mercedes Benz luxury cars to campaign buses and trucks, were acquired with the proceeds of fraud.
The report added, “Adamu Mu’azu received vehicles worth N504, 500, 000 including a Benz G63 worth N45m between May and August 2014.
“Secondus received vehicles worth N310m. On June 28, 2013, he received a Benz G63 worth N36m; on April 8, 2014, he received two Toyota Hilux vehicles worth N14m.
“On July 8, 2014, he received 10 Hiace buses worth N90m while on November 13, 2014, he received 15 Hiace mid-roof buses worth N120m. He also received a N50m Range Rover Biography SUV.”
But Secondus has since denied the allegation and filed a libel case against the Minister of Information for including his name among looters of the treasury.
He also pleaded with the Rivers State High Court to restrain the Federal Government and its agencies from further link of his name with looters.