Corruption and Underdevelopment

EFCC releases former speaker, Etteh over alleged N130m fraud

By Paul Michael, Abuja

Economic and Financial Crime Commission(EFCC) has announced the release of a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Patricia Etteh, after fulfilling her bail conditions in an alleged N130 million fraud saga.

According to the Commission on Saturday in a statement by its spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, the former speaker was released on Friday, adding that she will be reporting periodically for further questioning.

“Former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mrs Patricia Olubunmi Etteh, detained by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC on suspicious and shady financial involvement with Phil Jin Projects Limited, has been released by the Commission.

Former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mrs Patricia Olubunmi Etteh
Former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mrs Patricia Olubunmi Etteh

“She was released on Friday, May 20, 2022, upon fulfilling bail conditions offered her by investigators working on her matter. She is to report periodically to assist further investigations,” the statement said.

Etteh, who was Speaker between June 6, 2007, and October 30, 2007, was arrested in Abuja on Tuesday by operatives of the Special Duty Unit of the anti-graft agency, sources familiar with the matter said.

The former lawmaker is currently being interrogated for allegedly receiving a suspicious N130 million payment from a contractor that the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) awarded a solar-powered electrification project in Akwa Ibom State.

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The said contract was awarded to a certain Phin Jin Project Limited in 2011 for N240 million. It is unclear if the company is registered with Nigeria’s Corporate Affairs Commission. A search of its name on the CAC online directory did not show any update.

Investigators said weeks after the contractor was paid the mobilisation fee for the project, N130 million was transferred to Etteh, who is neither a director nor a shareholder of the company on record.

“The payment of that huge amount to her is suspicious,” one source said.

EFCC and Patricia Etteh
EFCC and Patricia Etteh

“She is claiming that the contractor repaid a debt due to her but that is doubtful. So her claims are being scrutinised.

“They even overpaid for the contract. Instead of N240 million, they paid N287 million. These are knotty issues she and the contractor need to explain and that is why she is being interrogated by operatives,” the source added.

“It is uncertain that the contract was delivered. Its exact status has not been determined but we feel that no magic would have made the contract to be delivered or executed to specification after Etteh was given that huge amount from the contract sum,” another source said.

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