EFCC releases ex-speaker Etteh, as AGF, former NDDC MD remain in custody
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has released a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Patricia Etteh, on administrative bail.
Etteh was released on Friday after fulfilling bail conditions offered to her by investigators working on her case.
According to the EFCC, the former speaker is to report periodically to assist in investigations.
Meanwhile, the Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, and former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, Nsima Ekere, arrested during the week were still being grilled by the commission.
While Idris was arrested in connection with the diversion of funds and money laundering activities to the tune of N80 billion, Ekere was detained over an alleged N47bn contract fraud.
On Tuesday night, the former speaker was arrested over her alleged involvement in N287 million contract awarded by the Niger Delta Development Company (NDDC).
Etteh was quizzed about her involvement in a N287 million solar power street light project in Akwa Ibom State executed by Phil Jin Projects Ltd.
The anti-graft agency is investigating to find out why the ex-minister received the money when she is not a director of the company
Though she was neither a director nor the contractor, the agency was probing a strange payment of N130 million into her bank account by the contractor.
“Etteh is currently in our custody. What happened was that in 2011, the NDDC awarded a contract of N240m to Phil Jin Project Limited for the supply of solar-powered street lights in some communities in Akwa Ibom,” an EFCC source said.
“Shortly after the contract was awarded, the firm got N34m as an initial sum. Two weeks later, they received N253m, a total of N287m. This is despite the fact that the contract itself was worth N240m.
“Etteh is not a director in the company or a contractor. But the company paid her N130m. So, she was invited to explain what the money was for and she was unable to do so. Either the company is fronting for her or there are some shady deals. We cannot ascertain the execution of the contract in any case.”
Etteh, who represented the Ayedaade/Isokan/Irewole Constituency of Osun State from 1999 to 2011, was the first woman to serve as Speaker of the House of Representatives. She, however, resigned and was replaced by Dimeji Bankole.