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‘Fake news’, Akpabio denies giving Malami $5m bribe

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The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, has described the report he gave $5 million bribe to the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, as fake news.

The minister was alleged to have bribed Malami and others to facilitate the appointment of a sole administrator for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), a commission under his ministry.

Malami has since denied the claim.

Also responding to the allegation, Akpabio, in an statement at the weekend through his media aide, Anietie Ekong, said:

“The attention of the Honourable Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio has been drawn to a piece of fake news which claimed that Senator Akpabio paid $5 million bribe to the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami and others to secure the appointment of a Sole Administrator for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

“The story is a desperate attempt by some unscrupulous bloggers to impugn the integrity of the Honourable Minister of Niger Delta Affairs and the Honourable Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami as the claim is not only spurious but utterly ridiculous.”

Akpabio, said that the allegation emanated from people not happy with the NDDC forensic audit and vowed to drag the matter to court.

READ ALSO: Malami labels as malicious claims he collected bribe from Akpabio on appointment of NDDC administrator

The allegation was part of events that have trailed the appointment of Effiong Akwa as NDDC sole administrator.

Since President Muhammadu Buhari announced Akwa, who is from Akwa Ibom, the same state Akpabio hails from, the people of Ijaw ethnic group and people from other Niger Delta states have continued to protest against the appointment.

They argue that the appointment was against the principle of rotation of the NDDC leadership among the nine states of the Niger Delta region.

But Akpabio claimed in the statement that Akwa was appointed NDDC’s administrator as a result of a lawsuit against the NDDC.

“The fact is that in a suit number ABJ/CS/617/2020 filed by a Civil Society Organization, Forum for Accountability and Good Governance, at a Federal High Court in Abuja, Justice Ahmed Mohammed had granted an order restraining the Interim Management Committee of the NDDC from performing the functions of the board and accessing the Commission’s offices and files.

“The Order clearly listed the Managing Director Professor Kemebradikumo Pondei, Acting Executive Director of Projects Dr Cairo Ojougboh, Mrs Caroline Nagboh and Cecilia Akintomide as those restrained. The Order also asked that ‘the most senior civil servant or administrator in the Commission be appointed’ to take charge of the Commission.

“It was based on this order that President Muhammadu Buhari approved the elevation of the Acting Executive Director of Finance and Administration, Mr Effiong Akwa, being the most Senior Administrator to take over the headship of the NDDC as an Interim Administrator pending the completion of the Forensic Audit Exercise,” the statement read.

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