Written by Godfrey AKON

Alleged fraud: Kachikwu pushes back

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, has refuted allegations of being shielded from prosecution by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, over alleged corruption.

In a statement by the director of press, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Mr. Idang Alibi, the ministry said no one was shielding Kachikwu from prosecution as there was no cause for anyone or institution to shield him since he has done no wrong to be prosecuted.

A coalition of Patriots of Anti-corruption League, PAL, had alleged on a newspaper publication on Sunday September 9, 2018, that EFCC was covering up corruption allegations against Kachikwu, some other individuals and four companies said to have been involved in petroleum subsidy fraud.

But the ministry, in the statement, washed the minister off any wrongdoing, stating that the false allegations aimed at impugning the integrity of Kachikwu were not new.

“We wish to state, most categorically, that no one is shielding the Minister from prosecution because there is simply no cause for anyone or institution to shield him from anything for he has done no wrong deserving of prosecution. We also wish to let the public know that the issue of false allegations against Ibe Kachikwu and the individuals and companies mentioned by PAL is, actually, not a new one.

“The invidious effort to impugn Kachikwu’s integrity first started in 2016 when a shadowy group of people came out with a claim that Kachikwu, in collaboration with some individuals and some oil and gas companies, had a case to answer in relation to oil subsidy fraud, a claim the EFCC thoroughly investigated and discarded because there was no substance to it.

According to him, the recent claim by PAL is an attempt to rehash and repackage an old plot with a view to either blackmail Kachikwu into conceding some unnamed and unknowable favour or tarnish his good name.

“Whatever may be the motive of his traducers, just as that initial action failed to achieve the sinister purpose of its sponsors, this one by PAL will similarly fail as there is nothing that Ibe Kachikwu has done in the dispatch of his remit to warrant prosecution.

“We once again wish to invite the discerning members of the public to note that in the current round of crusade to bring Ibe Kachikwu down, the sponsored news plant by PAL first appeared on an online publication on Monday, September 3. When its sponsors observed that it did not gain enough traction, they chose a more credible medium in ThisDay by causing the plant to come out a week later,” the statement said.

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