The Nigerian government has asked British authorities to ban a former finance commissioner of Akwa-Ibom State, Senator Bassey Akpan, from entering the United Kingdom and any of its territories.
Akpan who currently represents Akwa Ibom in the National Assembly was commissioner for finance between August 7, 2007, and 2014 under ex-governor Godswill Akpabio.
ThisDay newspaper reports that the request was based on findings by the Federal Government’s Special Presidential Investigative Panel for the Recovery of Public Property that Akpan acquired properties in Nigeria and the United Kingdom with a value well above his remunerations for the about 10 years he served as commissioner for finance.
The British authorities were also requested to seize assets and all bank accounts belonging to the Senator in the letter addressed to the UK Home Office Secretary, Hon. Amber Rudd, the newspaper further reported.
Chairman of the Special Presidential Investigative Panel for the Recovery of Public Properties, Okoi Obono-Obla, who signed the letter, which was sent to the British authorities on 28th of March, said the action became necessary due to findings from investigations of the senator.
According to the letter, “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.
He is therefore by the provisions of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) a public officer. He is presently under investigation in Nigeria by this panel for an illicit acquisition of assets and money laundering.
“In the light of the foregoing, I am writing to bring to the notice of the Home Office Secretary, the fraudulent acts of Mr. Bassey Albert Akpan which include money laundering activities, assets stealing, forgery, tax evasion and extortion.
“It is kindly requested for the Rt. Hon. Home Office Secretary to use her powers to issue an Exclusion Decision on Mr. Bassey Albert Akpan from the United Kingdom and its territory pursuant to the Home Office.
“Exclusion from the UK booklet version 1.0 page 12 under corruption cited: tax evasion, money laundering, bribery and accepting kickbacks, extortion, asset stealing, fraud and match-fixing in sport.”
But the senator claimed that the properties were acquired through a mortgage of £1 million from Barclays Bank of London.
The federal government has also asked a Federal High Court, Abuja, for an interim order of forfeiture of assets linked to the senator.