In the noon of defection by Senator Godswill Akpabio to All Progressives Congress, APC, Akwa Ibom State government, Wednesday, blew hot that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has frozen the government’s account to inadvertently win sympathy of the populace.
Assam Assam, a one-time state Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice in an interview published by Nairaland blamed Senator Akpabio that he petitioned EFCC to freeze the state government account.
Akpabio who defected from Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, now ruling the state to APC and who had ruled Akwa Ibom from 2007-2015 ignored the accusation by the Eket-born Assam whom he appointed as Number One legal Officer in the state and recommended for appointment as Ambassador to Russia.
However, EFCC told The Vanguard reporter in Abuja that it has not frozen any account belonging to Akwa Ibom State Government in any bank anywhere, thus making the story a hoax and political jobbery allegedly concocted by the government for blackmail.
The commission cleared the air on the matter following claims by Charles Udoh, the state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, on Wednesday night that the accounts of the state had been frozen by the anti-graft agency.
“The state government will speak on the account freezing soon,” Mr. Udoh said, without giving further details. But a top official of the EFCC told Vanguard on Thursday that the agency had not frozen any account belonging to the state in any bank either in or outside Nigeria.
The top officer challenged the purveyors of the information to name the details of the accounts reportedly frozen, the banks in which they are domiciled and the amount standing in those accounts.
The officer said that there was no reason to freeze the accounts since Akwa Ibom state government and the commission were already in court over the movements of state funds.
“The case is already at the Appeal Court since they challenged our powers to investigate the accounts of the state and the matter has not yet been determined and we cannot embark on self help.
“So, we challenge the state government to name the banks in which the accounts were reportedly frozen, the account numbers and the amount standing in the accounts to prove to the world that indeed what they are saying is true,” the top official said.
“We believe strongly that some elements are deliberately trying to blackmail the EFCC by boldly lying against the commission all in a veiled bid to drag it into politics. This is quite unfortunate and a disservice to this country,” the official said.