Ask Ufot Ekaette, I Did Not Divert East-West Road Funds – Orubebe
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August 5, 2016 ( Post 1 )
Embattled former Minister for Niger Delta Affairs, Elder Godsday Orubebe has refuted the claim that he diverted funds meant for the East West Road dualisation project.
The ICPC, in the five-count charge filed at the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), accused Orubebe, Oludare Lawrence Alaba, Ephraim Towelde Zaki and Gitto Construction, of allegedly diverting about N2 billion meant for the dualisation of Section IV of the East-West Road.
Orubebe, however, said he was yet to be served the said letter, noting that payment for the project were made by his predecessor, Ufot Ekaette, who incidentally hails from Eket, where the project was to be executed.
The ex-minister said he was interrogated on the issue last year by the ICPC, and that when he clarified issues, officials of the commission told him he had no case to answer.
“Chief Ekaette was the minister for Niger Delta Affairs when the East-West Road dualisation project started.
‘’The road was initially meant to pass through the community somewhere around Eket, but Ekaette expressed his preference for the by-pass to pass behind the community to aid development and expansion of the community.
“The N1.9 billion, which they said Orubebe diverted, was paid under Ekaette as minister of Niger Delta. I did not make any payment. Ekaette paid the money to the construction company. I did not know when they paid the money.
“While some agreed with the suggestion by Ekaette that the raod should pass behind the community, others disagreed. I met the problem when I became minister of Niger Delta.
“I wrote the governor then, Governor Godswill Akpabio, and we held meetings with members of the community, who disagreed on whether or not the by-pass should pass behind the Eket community or inside it.
“I only read the story about the charge in the newspapers. They have not served me. I am still waiting to be served.
“I have done nothing to hide. The other time, they took me before the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) for the land that government gave to me. I submitted myself for trial. Trial has been concluded, we are only waiting for judgment, which has been postponed twice.
“When you have served your country diligently, people should not be concerned about how to destroy you.
“If I have committed an offence, I am ready to pay for it. The first case that started was in relation to the land that was given to every minister while I was in government.
“I was the only minister that went to sleep in the creeks, talking to militants, that brought about amnesty, and oil production rose from 700,000 barrels to 2.6 million barrels per day.
“I have made sacrifices. I served this country for six years and four months. I was taken to court for the land that government gave me, which I did not buy with my money. Trial has finished in that case, we are only waiting for judgment, and now, they have brought another one. They should leave me alone,” Orubebe said.
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