Albert’s arrest: Actions underway to extradite Uyo Senator to face criminal charges in UK

* Senator Albert 

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Itoro BASSEY

Following a presidential directive, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) may likely extradite arrested Uyo Senator, Mr. Bassey Albert Akpan, to the United Kingdom by next week to face criminal charges, Propeller Newspaper learned on Thursday. 

It would be recalled that Senator Albert had been under investigation by the Special Presidential Investigative Panel on Recovery of Public Property for illicit acquisition of assets and money laundering during his tenure as commissioner for finance between 2007 and 2014 during the administration of former Governor Godswill Akpabio.

“The circumstances under which Senator Bassey Albert Akpan acquired all these landed properties in the United Kingdom are suspicious taking into account that for the past ten years he has always been a public officer and his legitimate earnings are far below the worth of the assets he has acquired in the United Kingdom”, Okoi Obono Obla, Chairman of the Special Presidential Investigative Panel on Recovery of Public Property, said in a letter he addressed to the UK government dated March 28, 2018.

Senator Bassey Albert, who represents Akwa Ibom North East (PDP) senatorial district was arrested by the EFCC on Tuesday afternoon.

Spokesman for the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, confirmed the arrest following enquiries by reporters last night.

“Yes, he is with us”, Uwujaren said, but did not give further details of the arrest.

He also did not say when the lawmaker would either be charged to court or released on bail.

Propeller Newspaper gathered on Thursday that close allies of the embattled senator in Uyo are under strict surveillance by the EFCC, as officials of the anti-graft commission in Uyo are said to have been mandated to clamp down on some property and beneficiaries who got some of the largesse Senator Albert doled out during has constituency briefing in April, 2018.

Senator Albert had distributed 40 saloon cars, 20 mini buses, 40 motorcycles, 40 motorcycles, 20 block moulding machines, 160 sewing machines, and several other items to constituents across nine local government areas making up the Uyo senatorial district in the massive constituency briefing many say was sponsored through illicit funds.

In another development, Senator Albert was said to have been detained by the EFCC over his alleged receipt of vehicles worth N303 million from an oil baron, now standing trial for financial crimes.

A report by the EFCC alleged that the Senator received vehicles worth N303m from Omokore while he was the Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Finance as well as the Chairman of the Inter-ministerial Direct Labour Coordinating Committee whose job was to ensure that government projects were completed using direct labour approach to save some money for the state.

At the same time, two of Omokore’s companies – Bay Atlantic Energy and Sahel Energy – were said to have received contracts from the committee headed by Akpan.

The report added, “Senator Bassey Akpan received a BMW X5 BP worth N50m; an Infinity QX56BP worth N45m; a Range Rover worth N40m; three Toyota Hiace buses worth N27m; two Toyota Hiace High-roof buses worth N16m, six Toyota Hilux D cabin vehicles worth N42m as well as other vehicles worth N83m.

“He received the vehicles from Omokore while heading a committee which was giving contracts to the same Omokore.

“He has been invited on several occasions but he has refused to show up. He was supposed to come to the EFCC office on Monday (yesterday) but he refused to come.”

EFCC contends that the vehicles, which ranged from Mercedes Benz luxury cars to campaign buses and trucks, were acquired with the proceeds of fraud.

The report added, “Adamu Mu’azu received vehicles worth N504, 500, 000 including a Benz G63 worth N45m between May and August 2014.

“Secondus received vehicles worth N310m. On June 28, 2013, he received a Benz G63 worth N36m; on April 8, 2014, he received two Toyota Hilux vehicles worth N14m.

“On July 8, 2014, he received 10 Hiace buses worth N90m while on November 13, 2014, he received 15 Hiace mid-roof buses worth N120m. He also received a N50m Range Rover Biography SUV.”

But Secondus has since denied the allegation and filed a libel case against the Minister of Information for including his name among looters of the treasury.

He also pleaded with the Rivers State High Court to restrain the Federal Government and its agencies from further link of his name with looters.

Related Sacked Sen. Akpan asked to refund all monies collected while in office A Federal High Court sitting in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, yesterday, sacked the Senate Committee Chairman on Oil and Gas, Senator Bassey Akpan, representing Akwa Ibom North East senatorial district. February 28, 2017 Arrest of Jonathan’s cousin, Azibaola, vendetta against ex-President —Lawyer April 7, 2016

Albert’s rrest, it was gathered, was to enable the lawmaker to state his role in the receipt of exotic vehicles worth N1.1 billion from the promoter of Bay Atlantic Energy and Sahel Energy ahead of the 2015 presidential polls.

Additional report by Vanguard.

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