Shell Gas Project: Bribery Allegation a Ruse -EFCC

Wilson Uwujaren 9Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC has dispelled a report which was widely syndicated in the newspapers and online media on Monday, October 6, 2014, alleging the involvement of officials of the Commission in a bribery scandal over the Gbaran Ubie Gas Project in Bayelsa State. EFCC Spokesman ,Wilson UIwujaren said in a statement that the report which was purportedly based on a petition to the House of Representatives by a certain Chidi David Adebanya ought to be ignored as the motive was essentially to befuddle the case pending against the petitioner at the Federal High Court, Abuja.
He said further that the Commission was constrained to respond in the interest of readers who might have been mislead by the sponsored story
“For the avoidance of doubt, there is no truth in the claim by Adebanya that officials of the Commission demanded gratification from him to throw the case. It is inconceivable that any official of the Commission will ask for a bribe let alone promising to make returns to the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke. This is preposterous! According to Adebanya, the bribes were demanded in 2011. The important question is, why has it taken him three solid years to go public with the allegation?”Uwujaren said
The commission’s spokesman said ,“The reality is that nothing of such happened. The contrivance is a ploy to discredit the case instituted by the EFCC against Adebanya. The petitioner is currently standing trial before the Federal High Court, Abuja on charges of obtaining money under false pretence. He allegedly used his position as Interface Manger for Shell to extort his employer through a phony consultancy in connivance with officials of the Bayelsa State Ministry of Urban Development He allegedly awarded himself a consultancy contract using his company “Forstech” being run by his girlfriend, Uzoma Ibe, an accomplice. The “team” milked Shell of N1.9billion in consultancy charges for the Gbaran Ubie gas project.
“The phony deal later cost him his job. The matter which was before Justice Gladys Olotu was later reassigned to Justice Adeniyi Ademola after the former left the bench”,the commission noted in the statement.
“Rather than prove his innocence in court, Adebanya resort to self help by petitioning the House of Representatives and seeking to scandalize the Commission through spurious allegations.
According to Uwujaren,“It is regrettable that a section of the media bought this gambit by rushing to publish without any attempt at verifying the claim or seeking the views of the Commission on the purported allegation.
“If this omission is part of an agenda to embarrass and distract the EFCC from pursuing the case against Adebanya, it has failed. No amount of sponsored publications on unfounded allegations will stop the Commission from diligently prosecuting the case against Adebanya.
“If the petitioner believes he has any case against the Commission, he is free to seek redress in court”the spokesman of the antigraft agency said.

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