The immediate past Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Akwa Ibom State, Uwemedimo Nwoko (SAN) has said his arrest by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC did not take him unawares.
It will be recalled that Nwoko, in April, 2021, shortly after he left office, was arrested by the anti-graft agency in connection with his role in the alleged N1.4 billion money laundering charge against a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Paul Usoro (SAN).
Giving an insight into what led to his arrest in an Akwa Ibom Broadcasting Corporation, AKBC programme on Tuesday, June 8, monitored in Uyo by our correspondent, Nwoko said his arrest was like a retaliation by EFCC.
Explaining further, Nwoko said he challenged the EFCC during former Governor Godswill Akpabio’s administration over the probe into the financial activities of the state government as the agency had no constitutional powers to do so to a sitting government.
Nwoko added that he was the first and only lawyer to have filed a suit of that nature against EFCC in the court and he was able to get an injunction restraining it from probing the then Governor Godswill Akpabio’s government and not Udom Emmanuel’s administration.
He said the anti-graft agency was not happy over the development, adding that it was one of the reasons they were waiting for him to leave office.
He said he has already kept his records straight in anticipation of his arrest even before he left office.
On the said N1.4b laundering, Nwoko explained that the money in the ex-NBA President, Paul Usoro’s account, was meant for the entire legal team he was coordinating for the election tribunal, adding that Usoro was handling the Senior Advocates of Nigeria and other lawyers outside Akwa Ibom State.
He further explained that the N65 million out of N1.4b transferred to his account by Usoro was meant to pay lawyers from Akwa Ibom State, whom he coordinated as the Commissioner for Justice, stressing that the transactions were electronically done which can be verified.
“The statement of account which they already had in their file from Zenith Bank reflected that the money was transferred to my account on the 27th, August 2015, and on the 28th, I started paying out the monies and good enough, they were all transfers, so they have it in their own record.“You couldn’t have been in the kind of office that I occupied, did the things I did, stepped on the toes I stepped on and you didn’t anticipate that when you come out, that this kind of thing will happen. Possibly, it may not be the last time. Those things are expected”.
He said he was ready for anything, that if he is going to be charged to court, he has made his statement.
Speaking further, he said his belief is that when they read through his statement and they need any further documents, they will find them all there because all the documents are already available to them.