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Why EFCC arrested former Speaker, Etteh

PATRICIA Etteh, a former Speaker of the House of Representatives has been arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission over alleged fraud relating to a Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) contract.

Etteh was arrested in Abuja last night and is being interrogated for allegedly receiving a suspicious N130 million payment from a contractor the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) awarded a solar-powered electrification project in Akwa Ibom State.

According to investigations, N130 million was transferred to Mrs Etteh who is neither a director nor a shareholder of the company on record.

The EFCC is also suspicious that the contractor did not execute the contract after payment was received.

The Guardian quoted EFCC top sources to have said, “she was arrested over a Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) contract in 2011. The contract was a rural solar electrification project for some communities in Akwa Ibom. The contract was awarded to a company called Philjim Projects Limited.

“The contract sum was N240 million awarded by NDDC as part of its community development project. An initial sum of N34 million was made and curiously, another sum of N253 million, raising the paid sum to N287 million.

“Our concern in this matter is that Etteh is neither a director nor the contractor, but our investigation revealed that she was paid a total amount of N130 million by the contractor.

“When our investigators confronted her with these payments, she said it was a refund of a loan she gave to the contractor handling the project.

“When you look at the disbursement, the contractor was too liquid to look for a loan from a third party. There is clearly a fraudulent transaction and the company might be fronting for her”.

Etteh was speaker of the House of Representatives from June 6, 2007, to October 30, 2007.

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