A former Senator and an All Progressives Grand Alliance ( APGA) Senatorial Candidate for Ebonyi Central Zone, Senator Emmanuel Onwe, has urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Federal Investigation Bureau and the Department of States Services to as a matter of urgency to swing into action to unravel alleged contract racket involving a company, Express Concerns International Ltd and one Mr Onny Igbokwe who parades as whistleblower.
This is as Senator Onwe alleged that Igbokwe opted to drag him and the company in the mud when his attempt to defraud Express Concerns International Ltd of over N117 million for the execution of a training contract blew up and was foiled.
Findings reveal that Igbokwe, had through his lawyers, Kanu Ogbonnia .O. and Co, allegedly petitioned the Presidential Amnesty Programme; the Federal Ministry of Justice; among others, claiming that the Senator and Express Concerns International Ltd were involved in illegal N500million deal.
According to the alleged petition, dated June 10, 2022, a copy of which was obtained by THEWILL, Igbokwe claimed he was the founding father of the Presidential Amnesty Training contract programme.
But during an interaction with journalists, in Abakaliki, on Friday, Onwe, who is the Director of the Agric Division of Express Concerns International Ltd, insisted that Igbokwe became aggrieved because he scuttled his alleged criminal efforts to steal the 30 per cent mobilisation fund, for a project meant to train Niger Delta youths.
According to him, Igbokwe’s intention was to steal the money and proceed to probably poison him to avert traces of the attempted criminal diversion of the fund.
He said, “The information being peddled by Mr Onny Igbokwe is absolutely false. This is nothing but pure criminal blackmail for that matter, arising from the greed of this crook called Igbokwe and his criminal co-travellers.
“An award of contract was made to Express Concerns Intentional Ltd on the 24th of November, 2021 to train 90 Niger Delta youths.
“This so-called petition he (Igbokwe) is peddling arose from the fact that he demanded N84million from me, which of course there was no way I was going to give him N84million from a contract that would not yield a profit of that amount.
“By the way, this contract is to train young people from the Niger Delta in rice farming, fish farming and poultry. ”
Onwe, who is the All Progresives Grand Alliance Senatorial candidate for Ebonyi Central maintained that a combination of frustration, a sense of abject failure and envy is driving Mr Igbokwe to a distraction.
“He (Igbokwe) was the one who brought these so called bankers from the First City Monument Bank, FCMB, in Abuja. We signed the relevant sections of the account opening forms and they took the forms back and we supplied our passports photographs and ID cards. And by we, I mean the Chairman of Express Concerns International Ltd, Chief Daniel Okeke and myself. A board resolution was made and signed to that effect by the directors of the company.
“Unknown to us, what Igbokwe did was to strike out the sections that Mr Okeke’s details were to be inserted. He struck out those sections and inserted his own details and made himself sole signatory to the account. He proceeded to forge a board resolution of Express Concerns International Ltd to perfect his fraud. Have you ever seen a situation where someone who is acting as a witness to account opening was also a signatory to such an account. This is precisely what Igokwe set up.
“The intention was to steal the money and probably kill me.
“We await the conclusion of the investigations of the relevant agencies.
“This is not the first time that unscrupulous individuals are making attempts to blackmail me. The conspirators have not got what it takes so blacken my image because I stand tall in the ranks of the upright and the honourable. As I always say, my integrity is too solid to be taken down by my inferiors in the arena of character. This is a very politically-charged season. Therefore, I am not surprised that political opponents from various categories of contest are desperately looking for ways to throw random mud and see what might stick. Nothing is going to stick. They have made previous attempts to tarnish my image and character.
“This is because they know that this is the most powerful currency I have. The people that are doing this do not possess the character, the integrity and honour that people like us possess. So, they have been looking at ways of knocking us down but this is a futile strike against the Rock of Gibraltar.
“When they specifically and categorically declare: “Senator, Dr Emmanuel Onwe, the All Progresives Grand Alliance Senatorial candidate, Ebonyi Central” blah, blah, blah, doesn’t that tell you a lot of what they planned to achieve (defamation).
“This clearly tells you that these people are calculating this to be a hit job on my character, a hit job on my integrity, a hit job on what I stand for morally, politically and socially. But it’s not going to stand.
“We have made reports to security agencies and they are looking into this matter and very soon those behind this will be unraveled, because this is a racket. As a matter of fact, part of this racket are people that were involved in the illegal and criminal raiding of the home of the former Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Mary Odili. But we will leave that for the security agencies to handle and we believe this will happen sooner than later.
“The contract in question is fully insured with a first rate insurance company. There is no aspect in which the public interest is threatened. If a commercial transaction of this nature fails, the parties have numerous options. Anyone with half a brain will see this for the hatchet job it is. We are going to forge ahead with our contractual obligations and if issues arise, the mechanisms for a resolution are clearly spelt out. Only a brainless moron would fail to realise that.
“We will sue Igbokwe for illegally and criminally tarnishing our image. We will do that. But first step first, since the matter has been reported to security agencies and since it’s possible that some staff of FCMB at the branch in question are complicit in this conspiracy, we will consider our options very carefully. The company as a corporate entity has been defamed. I, as an individual, have been defamed and Chief Daniel Okeke has also been defamed. We are not going to explore all our legal and legitimate options.
“We are taking deliberate, systematic and strategic step to follow it. We are not going to rush to any actions, but this is so damaging and so serious. Trying to extort me personally of N84million is something we cannot allow to ride by. It’s obvious that if Igbokwe had been allowed to steal the mobilisation money for the project, which was why he colluded with the bank officials to be the sole signatory of the account, he would have killed me.
“I will tell my supporters to continue to have every confidence in their belief that they know this man. I’m still the same person I was yesterday, I’m still the same person today and I will be the same person tomorrow.
“They know me. My integrity is as solid as the rock and nothing they do will affect that. And in the fullness of time, by the time we bring these criminal blackmailers to book, we will be justified. Therefore, I’m inviting EFCC, FIB, DSS and others to come and investigate this matter.”