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Akpabio vs Ekpenyong: Udom reacts to reports of bribing tribunal chairman with $1.5m

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Governor Udom Emmanuel has denied the allegation that he bribed the tribunal chairman, Justice W.O Akanbi to influence judgment in favour of the People’s Democratic Party candidate, Obong Chris Ekpenyong in the Akwa Ibom Northwest senatorial petition matter.

Senator Godswill Akpabio of the All Progressives Congress (APC), now Niger Delta Affairs minister, is seeking to upturn the victory of Ekpenyong as senator for Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial election petition tribunal.

Emmanuel’s denial is coming on the heels of an allegation by Mr. Leo Ekpenyong, a lawyer that he doled out 1.4million Dollars to the panel Chairman, Justice W.O. Akanbi, with a view to securing justice for the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

Leo Ekpenyong, in an interview with a local newspaper in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom state capital, accused the governor of trying to bend the course of justice in favour of Chris Ekpenyong and the PDP.

“Justice W. O. Akanbi, who many thought was a righteous Judge has received a whopping $1.5million US Dollars from governor Udom Emmanuel and has recruited one Justice Ebetu, another Judge from Bayelsa state to join in the justice-for-sale scam.

“Akanbi has clearly jettisoned justice in preference in preference for governor Udom’s Greek gift, since, according to him, he (Akanbi) has only two years to retire”, he had told the media.

But governor Emmanuel, speaking through his Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Uwemedimo Nwoko, described the allegation as completely bereft of truth and asked Mr. Leo Ekpenyong, to substantiate his allegation with fact or be ready to face legal action.

“We state most categorically and without any equivocation that there is absolutely no iota of truth in Leo Ekpenyong’s wild and unsubstantial allegation.

“Governor Udom Emmanuel does not know and has never met with Honourable Justice Akanbi or any other Judge in the panel; His Excellency has made no personal contact or through a proxy with any of the Judges.

“It is therefore, most uncharitable and unconscionable for Leo Ekpenyong and his pay masters to attempt to rubbish and bring to disrepute the sterling reputation of and character of governor Emmanuel”, he said.

Keep Naira clean

The Attorney General, who described Leo Ekpenyong, as “a serial blackmailer”, recalled that he had in time past blackmail Senator Akpabio, to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices (and other related offences) Commission (ICPC), adding that “Akpabio succumb to his blackmail paid him handsomely”.

For the government to hands-off the matter, Nwoko asked Leo Ekpenyong to produce factual evidence within seven days and publish same in three reputable national newspapers or be ready to face the full weight of his action in the court of law.

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