A former minister of state for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, has denied receiving the sum of N9.7billion in his bank account as claimed by an online newspaper.
He also dismissed allegation in the publication that he smuggled a jaguar car to the United States, saying that he only recovered the car which was erroneously impounded by US authorities.
The former minister, therefore, threatened to commence legal action against the online newspaper, People’s Gazette, just as he demanded N3billion as compensation and a retraction of what he called false and malicious publication.
The minister stated this in a letter addressed to the publisher of the People’s Gazette through his counsel, Mike Ozhekome Chambers, titled: “Libelous Publications against Dr Ibe Kachikwu – Demand for Retraction and Compensation.”
The minister through his lawyers said the online newspaper in its August 23, 2021 edition claimed that he purchased a stolen vehicle which was smuggled from a United Kingdom Assembly to California in the United States.
It said the publication “maliciously and falsely” portrayed the former minister as a smuggler.
The letter also stated that the publication claimed the former minister received the sum of N9.7billion in his First Bank account while he served as minister which it said denotes his appetite for luxury goods and accommodation.
“The aforementioned publications which were deliberately calculated to do maximum damage to his esteemed person, image and hard-earned goodwill and integrity, falsely alleged that our client smuggled a stolen jaguar car into the United States of America.
“You went further in your baseless, provocative and malicious publication to falsely allege that our client ‘received N9.7 billion in his personal First Bank account which denotes his appetite for luxury good and accommodation’ and portrayed our client as a corrupt, dishonest, dishonourable, unscrupulous, debased and degenerated decadent public officer,” it said.
Kachikwu, a former Group Managing Director of NNPC, said he was innundated with calls, messages, emails from friends and associates from within and outside Nigeria, who have expressed worry and concern over the development.