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The Federal Government resolves to crack down on public fund looting, money Laundering and tax evasion has taken a new dimension as President Muhammadu Buhari has written to the UK Government to Ban ex Governor Godswill Akpabio Finance Commissioner, Senator Bassey Akpan from entering UK and any of its territory.
This arose from the outcome of investigation by The Special Presidential Investigating Panel for the Recovery of public Property that Akpan acquired numerous properties scattered within and outside Nigeria through dubious means while serving as a Commissioner of Finance in Akwa Ibom State between August 7, 2007 and 2014.
The Presidency, in a letter addressed to the UK Home Office Secretary, Hon. Amber Rudd also called on the UK government to freeze all the bank accounts and assets associated with the embattled senator.
Mr Akpan, a Senator representing Akwa Ibom North-East senatorial district is facing numerous investigations and legal battles. Aside from UK Government ban, the Government has filed a case against Akpan seeking interim order to forfeit undeclared Asset now pending before Justice Dimgba of the Federal High Court, Abuja.
The Presidency in a letter dated March 28, 2018 and signed by the Chairman the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Properties, clearly stated that the action becomes necessary following the staggering revelations arising from the investigations into the embattled senator’s wealth particularly the use of tax payers’ money to fraudulently acquired properties in the UK and other countries around the world.
The government questioned the circumstances in which the senator acquired a number of landed properties in London, United Kingdom, which according to Akpan was acquired through Barclays Bank of London financed mortgage to the tune of £1m.
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 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 includes 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” it stated.
It could be recalled that President Buhari had recently reaffirmed his resolve to curb the country of bleeding corruption which has seriously hurt the economy and cause poverty in Nigeria. This has battered the nation’s image and inflicted serious poverty on the common Nigerians.
Buhari stressed that Nigerians needs to benefit from the rich natural and human resources of the country. “From the very time we came until now, we have been able to do our best, and we remain focused on delivering on our promises.’’
The Federal Government had in February commenced Automatic Exchange of Tax Information, AETI, with foreign countries on overseas assets held by Nigerians.
“The data on bank accounts, property and trusts, which has come automatically from a number of countries is being used to support the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme, VAIDS, by allowing the tax authorities to check the accuracy of declarations received,” Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun said. – Daily Times.