Bassey Akpan, a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from Akwa Ibom state, has been arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
THE NATION reports that Bassey allegedly received vehicles worth N303 million from Babajide Omokore, an oil magnate who is under trial for alleged fraud.
He was said to have given contracts worth billions of naira to Omokore, who allegedly used the vehicles as payment in return for the favour.
According to an EFCC official, “We have been interrogating Senator Bassey in the last 12 hours on the allegations against him. One of the allegations against him is how N303 million worth of vehicles were given out as gifts by the owner of Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Limited between July 30, 2010, and January 8, 2014.”
A fact-sheet from the EFCC said: “The Senator as Commissioner for Finance was also the Chairman of the Inter-Ministerial Direct Labour Coordinating Committee.
“About N30billion hit the account managed by the committee during the period. The fund came from Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and statutory allocations.
“Following allegation of massive wiring of the cash into private accounts, the EFCC decided to invite Sen. Bassey to give account. This agency is looking into allegation of money laundering against Bassey.
“Detectives have uncovered how contracts worth N618million to two companies namely Bay Atlantic Energy Services Limited and Sahel Energy/Power between 2010 and 2014 were awarded. The companies belong to the owner of Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Limited Chief Jide Omokore
“At about the same period, vehicles worth N303million were given out as gifts to Bassey by the owner of Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Limited especially between July 30, 2010, and January 8, 2014.
“From investigation by detectives, there is a correlation between the transactions and the gifts. The Akwa Ibom State Government has refused to make relevant documents available to the EFCC.”
However, Akpan has denied receiving kickbacks from Omokore, insisting that the businessman is his friend.
”The vehicles are gifts from Omokore on the need to ensure my personal safety. I have known him for 19 years. They were also contributions to my governorship campaign in 2014,” Akpan had said.
The arrest of Bassey brings to three the number of Senators arrested by the anti graft agency of in the last three weeks.
Peter Nwaoboshi, a senator from Delta state and Jonah Jang, another PDP senator from Plateau state, are currently being prosecuted by the EFCC.
They are all accused of acts of fraud.