The Matrix has gathered that an allegation of fraud involving a Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) contract was fingered as the reason why the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission arrested a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Patricia Etteh.
The former lawmaker is currently being interrogated for allegedly receiving a suspicious N130 million payments from a contractor the NDDC awarded a solar-powered electrification project in Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria’s South-South, Premium Times reports.
The said contract was awarded to a certain Phin Jin Project Limited in 2011 for N240 million. It remains unclear if the company is registered with Nigeria’s Corporate Affairs Commission. A search of its name on the CAC online directory did not throw up any option.
Investigators are now saying weeks after the contractor was paid the mobilisation fee for the project, N130 million was transferred to Mrs 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. “She is claiming 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.”
Recall that Etteh was arrested on Tuesday by the anti-graft agency in Abuja for questioning.
Etteh was elected Speaker in 2007 but resigned only after a few months amid allegations of financial misappropriation.
She is the only woman in the country’s history to have been elected Speaker.