From James Ojo, Abuja
The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has charged to court former chairman of Mkpat Enin Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Ephraim Sunday Akpan, for allegedly embezzling N55.8 million belonging to the local government.
The commission, in a 24-count charge filed before Justice Archibong Archibong of Akwa Ibom State High Court 4, in Uyo, accused Akpan of abuse of office as chairman of Mkpat Enin Local Government Area, contrary to Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000, and punishable under the same section.
According to a statement from the commission, the ex-council boss was chairman of the local government area from June 2012 to June 2015 and later caretaker chairman of the same council from June 2015 to June 2016.
He was accused of collecting a bribe of N3 million from a contractor, in violation of Section 8 of the same Act, and punishable under the same section.
ICPC said it investigated a petition from a non-governmental organisation, Centre for International Peace and Development in Nigeria, and found out that the former local government chairman allegedly used N55,670,000 of the council’s funds between June and October 2014 to build the Godswill Akpabio Gas and Oil Academy, which has been abandoned.
ICPC said Akpan allegedly offered bribes to some village heads in his local government to buy their support for the abandoned academy. It further alleged that the former council chairman, in his statement, confessed to have awarded a contract for the construction of 14 solar-powered boreholes in 14 wards of the local government area at the cost of N42,500,000 to a company called One Billion Trade, owned by his friend, Essien, without the approval of the council.
He also confessed to have paid N36,500,000 to the said company for the project, which has been abandoned, without following due process.
The commission also accused Akpan of paying N21 million without approval of the council, as first instalment, to the contractor and collecting N3 million as kickback.