… Defend yourself in court – APC
Akwa Ibom State government has denied the indictment of the state governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel and some officials of the state government by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), over purported withdrawal of N1.7billion from the state coffers.
This is even as the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Akwa Ibom State has challenged the state government to go to court and defend itself against the charges by the EFCC, instead of crying foul on the pages of newspapers.
A statement issued by the state commissioner for Information and Strategy, Charles Udoh and made available to newsmen yesterday in Uyo described the alleged indictment by the anti-graft agency as a baseless and malicious allegation, tainted with political undertone to malign the integrity of the current government of Akwa Ibom State.
Udo said that the allegation is another face-saving attempt by the EFCC to justify the several illegalities it has allowed itself to be used to perpetrate against the government and people of the state by the opposition party.
According to him, “These antics of the EFCC have continued to attract widespread condemnation from within and outside the country.”
The statement reads in part: “It is instructive to note that the EFCC is regurgitating this line of skewed narrative in the media for the umpteenth time in a flagrant act of impunity against the judicial process.
“The Akwa Ibom State Government had instituted a legal proceeding against the EFCC at the Federal High Court, Uyo, and therefore would remain fervent in its determination not to be dragged into a public discourse on a matter that is patently sub-judice.
“The constitution and laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria authorises only the state House of Assembly and the state Auditor-General to pry into the financial dealings of a state government.’’
The commissioner explained that in the last three and a half years, Akwa Ibom State has been one of the few states, if not the only state that publishes its annual audited financial statements.
This underscores the state government’s commitment to transparency, accountability and integrity in governance. He said copies of the state’s annual audited financial statements are available in the public domain.
‘’It is mockery of the rule of law for the EFCC to allow itself to degenerate into a tool for character assassination, political mudsling and witch-hunting by the opposition in Akwa Ibom State. Nigerians and indeed members of the international community are watching the unfolding EFCC drama with keen interest.
“For the records, the current Government of Akwa Ibom State is led by a consummate professional with over two decades of proven track record of integrity and performance in financial management, which transcends the borders of Nigeria and will not be distracted by this poorly scripted drama by the EFCC and will continue to do all within the ambits of the law to protect the integrity of governance in the state’’ the statement added.
Reacting to the allegation the Akwa Ibom State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in a statement signed by its chairman, Hon Ini Okopido, advised the state government and government officials indicted by the EFCC to defend themselves appropriately in the law court against the EFCC charges, instead of making spurious claims in the media.
‘’We note that the Udom Emmanuel administration has so far earned over a trillion Naira from FAAC, IGR and refunds from the federal government.
The well investigated cases of money laundering leveled against the Akwa Ibom State government and its officials can only explain why the Udom Emmanuel administration has achieved nothing in the last three and a half years,’’ it said.
“We urge the EFCC to prosecute this case very diligently. The governor should also be prosecuted as soon as he leaves office next year,’’ the party added.
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