Senator Bassey Albert Akpan and his supporters have been warned to desist from further blackmail and smear campaigns against Governor Udom Emmanuel, over the current legal imbroglio of the Young Progressives Party’s gubernatorial candidate.
A major advocacy group, Akwa Ibom Integrity Alliance in a reaction by its Chairman, Barr Stephen Abia, said it was unfair and uncharitable for the embattled senator to transfer blames of his travails to the doorsteps of Governor Emmanuel who neither originated the charges nor even knows of the facts of the case.
The group opined that to remotely or directly blame Governor Emmanuel for the probe of Bassey Akpan’s financial impropriety, was devilish, wicked and malicious.
“From investigations by our team of professionals, Governor Emmanuel was not in office as Governor, when the case of bribery and corruption against Bassey Albert Akpan commenced”, said Barr Stephen Abia.
“The case was purely on the heels of a probe of the infamous alleged slush funds against a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, where part of the funds where allegedly linked to a certain Jide Omokoro who confessed during investigation that he used the funds to bribe Senator Albert Akpan through car donations amounting to N204million to get contracts.
“For the avoidance of doubts, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission arrested and detained Senator Akpan over cars that he had allegedly received as bribe from Jide Omokore while serving as Akwa Ibom Finance Commissioner and Chairman of the State Inter-Ministerial Direct Labour Coordinating Committee.
“Investigations show that the Omokore’s companies – Bay Atlantic Energy and Sahel Energy – received contracts from the Senator Akpan’s InterMinisterial Direct Labour Coordinating Committee and the EFCC claimed the vehicles were used to bribe Akpan.
“We have discovered that it is only on the basis of jurisdiction that the case could not be decided a long time ago when the trial was conducted at Justice O.A. Taiwo presided Federal High Court in Lagos, hence the case was reassigned to the federal high court in Uyo in line with Senator Albert Akpan’s argument that the offense took place in Uyo.
“When he was testifying at the High Court, Senator Albert admitted receiving the car bribe from Omokaro and further brought some members of his campaign team as witnesses that they were given the contentious vehicles to campaign for Albert’s elections in 2015.
“Throughout the duration of this trial and till this moment, there is no record that the Akwa Ibom State government was a party in the case, nor can it be said that Governor Emmanuel or any of his appointees had testified in the case. It is therefore worrisome that Senator Bassey Albert would come out to castigate the Governor for a sin he allegedly committed when Governor Emmanuel had not assumed office”, the group enthused.
According to Barr Stephen Abia, himself an indigene of Ibiono Ibom local government where Bassey Albert also hails from, the people of Ibiono Ibom have disassociated themselves from the corruption allegations against their son, and are also ready to remain in support of the transparent leadership of Governor Emmanuel, which has brought about monumental feats in the State since 2015.
Judgement on the case is expected to come up on Friday this week at the Federal High Court in Uyo.