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Wednesday, August 10, 2022

EFCC arrests former speaker, Etteh over alleged N240m fraud

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arrested a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Patricia Olubunmi Etteh, over an alleged fraud contract worth N240m awarded by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

Etteh was arrested and detained in Abuja on Tuesday May 17, 2022 by operatives of the Special Duty Unit of the anti-graft agency.

According to reports, the former speaker allegedly received N130m through her personal account from Phil Jin Project Limited, a firm which was awarded a N240m contract by the NDDC in 2011.

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PUNCH reported that an official of the EFFC said Etteh had been unable to explain why the firm transferred N130m to her out of the money.

The statement of the EFCC official reads; “Etteh is currently in our custody. What happened was that in 2011, the NDDC awarded a contract of N240m to Phil Jin Project Limited for the supply of solar powered street lights in some communities in Akwa Ibom.

“Shortly after the contract was awarded, the firm got N34m as an initial sum. Two weeks later, they received N253m, a total of N287m. This is despite the fact that the contract itself was worth N240m.

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“Etteh is not a director in the company or a contractor. But the company paid her N130m. So, she was invited to explain what the money was for and she has been unable to do so. It is either the company is fronting for her or there are some shady deals. We cannot ascertain the execution of the contract in any case,” the official said.

Olubunmi Etteh, who represented the Ayedaade/Isokan/Irewole Constituency of Osun State from 1999 to 2011, was the first woman to serve as Speaker of the House of Representatives.

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She, however, resigned barely four months in speakership and was replaced by Dimeji Bankole amidst a N628 million office renovation scandal, although she was much later absolved of allegations of fraud levelled against her.

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