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Corruption: Former house of Reps Speaker, Patricia Olubumi Etteh, arrested, detained

Operatives of the Special Duty Unit of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arrested and detained a former Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, Patricia Olubumi Etteh, for allegedly receiving a suspicious N130 million payment from a contractor the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) awarded a solar-powered electrification project in Akwa Ibom State.

Mrs Etteh, Speaker of the House of Representatives between June 6 and October 30, 2007, was arrested in Abuja on Tuesday and is presently being interrogated by the anti-graft agency.

According to reports, the solar-powered electrification 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.

However, investigation into the matter indicated that a week after the contractor was paid the mobilisation fee for the project, N130 million was transferred to MrsEtteh who, according to the records, is neither a director nor a shareholder of the company.

According to an insider source:

“The payment of that huge amount to her is suspicious. She is claiming the contractor repaid a debt due to her but that is doubtful. So her claims are being scrutinized.

“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.”

Another source expressed doubts that the contract was even executed:

“It is uncertain that the contract was delivered.

“Its exact status has not been determined but we feel that there is no magic that would have made the contract to be delivered or executed to specification after Etteh was given that huge amount from the contract sum.”

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