These are no good times for some public office holders, especially the past governors who have long celebrated their victory and freedom from the gallows of the law. Following the request by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Mr. Abubakar Malami that certain case files which investigations were believed to have been compromised be reopened and forwarded to his office, many of the political bigwigs are already having sleepless nights.
One of the former governors who is allegedly worried by this new development is the former governor of Akwa Ibom State Godswill Akpabio.
It would be recalled that the erstwhile governor of Akwa Ibom State recently visited Ahmed Tinubu, one of the chieftain of APC. The recent meeting with Tinubu may not be unconnected with the new development to reopen cases against some former governors.
The current Chairman of ICPC Ekpo Uwa Owo Nta who will be retiring soon and expectedly will proceed on his terminal leave by 29th of August is from Akwa Ibom State.
His appointment as ICPC chairman was believed to have received the supports of Godswill Akpabio when he served as the governor of Akwa Ibom State.
According to information making round, Akpabio had demanded the outgoing ICPC chairman to destroy any information about his case file that may pitch him against the government of the day. He was said to be furious when he learnt that Ekpo was unwilling to do his bidding of destroying records that could trace property and funds linked to him. This follows the new interest President Buhari has shown in repositioning the anti-graft agency following allegations of compromised investigation by the Heads of Investigation Units, Financial Units and the echelons of the agency.
Akpabio was said to have reminded Ekpo that his appointment as Chairman was as a result of the role he played as a then serving governor.
Information reaching LeadingReporters says that the Senate Minority Leader and 2 terms governor of Akwa Ibom State Godswill Akpabio has sent emissaries to the Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, begging the ICPC boss to destroy rather than hand over his case file with the commission to the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami who last Tuesday wrote the ICPC and EFCC for reopening of the cases of the ex-governors and also turn in the case files of the former state governors to the AGF’s office for prosecution.
Akpabio was alleged to have sent a three man delegation to see Ekpo Nta, pleading that the Akwa Ibom born ICPC boss whom he (Akpabio) facilitated his appointment should return him the favour owed him by destroying all incriminating files that could be used by the AGF to convict him.
According to a source privy to the dispatch of the 3-man team by Akpabio to Nta, the former Akwa Ibom State Governor was alleged to have told the delegation to remind the ICPC boss of all the contracts and money he gave him while he was in office as Governor and remember how kind his wife, Uloma Akpabio was to the ICPC boss, requesting that the time has come for Nta to demonstrate the adage that one good turn deserves another, begging that if the ICPC chairman was not ready to oblige him the favour, he should concede to his plea for the sake of his wife whose health condition he begged was deteriorating.
Investigation reveals that the ICPC boss refused meeting the “intercessors” in his residence for security reasons but sent words to the embattled Senate Minority Leader that it will be practically impossible for him to tamper with evidence and others sensitive materials like the case files as requested, pleading that the issue at hand is beyond him since the Attorney General of the Federation is now involved.
Investigation revealed that the intention was to ensure that all documents that could possibly trace some multi-billion Naira property to the former Governor but bearing his or the name of the State Government were destroyed to prevent the anti- graft agencies from laying hold on the documents which the AGF may rely on to indict him in court during his trial.
It could be recalled that the Attorney General had in a letter on Tuesday given the Chairman of the ICPC a 14-day ultimatum to “remit the duplicate case files concerning the politically-exposed persons investigated by the ICPC over the years” to the office of the AGF.
The list of former Governors billed for trial includes the names of Saraki, a former Governor of Kwara State; Akpabio (a former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, and Sheriff (an ex-Governor of Borno State).
Other former governors include Orji Uzor Kalu (Abia); Chimaroke Nnamani (Enugu); Saminu Turaki (Jigawa); Sule Lamido (Jigawa); Joshua Dariye (Plateau); Ahmed Yerima (Zamfara); Gabriel Suswam (Benue); Martin Elechi (Ebonyi); Danjuma Goje (Gombe) and Murtala Nyako (Adamawa).
They also include Ikedi Ohakim (Imo); Obong Victor Attah (Akwa Ibom); Achike Udenwa (Imo); Abdullahi Adamu (Nasarawa); Gbenga Daniel (Ogun); Jolly Nyame (Taraba); Boni Haruna (Adamawa); George Akume (Benue); Rashidi Ladoja (Oyo); Attahiru Bafarawa (Sokoto) and Adebayo Alao-Akala.
Others are Usman Dakingari (Kebbi); Adamu Mu’azu (Bauchi); Peter Odili (Rivers), and Lucky Igbindedion (Edo).
The AGF letter defines high-profile cases as cases “involving alleged misconduct amounting to economic sabotage; involving complex financial transactions or property movement; involving any of the suspects, who is a politician, a public officer or judicial officer; and where the subject matter involves government or corruption of its official or involves the abuse of office.”
The AGF’s letter to both the ICPC and EFCC indicated that AGF’s request for the case files was in the exercise of his powers vested in the AGF by Section 174(1) of the Constitution as well as sections 105 (3) and 106 (a) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.