A former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs and Peoples Democratic Party chieftain, Elder Godsday Peter Orubebe, has dismissed allegations of false declaration of assets and acceptance of N70 million bribe.
The former PDP governorship aspirant in Delta State is set to appear before the Code of Conduct Tribunal on November 9 on a four-count charge of receiving the bribe from a contractor and failure to declare his ownership of two plots of land in Abuja.
Orubebe, who spoke with reporters in Abuja Sunday afternoon, acknowledged personal receipt of the CCT’s summons last Friday, adding that he had been wrongly blamed for the disappearance of N600 million during his successor’s tenure.
He also accused some government departments of inviting him for questioning unnecessarily.
“This simply tells me it is an issue of witch-hunt and it is not good for the development of this country”, he stated, urging President Muhammadu Buhari to stop government agencies’ undue harassment of perceived foes.
“If these things are coming out because of the role that I played at the International Conference Centre as an agent of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), then it is unfortunate”, he said.
On allegation that he failed to declare ownership of two plots of land, Orubebe stated that government gave him two plots of land, which he disposed of to take care of his needs as a minister.
“I cannot lay claim to plots of land I had since donated to other people and moved on in life”, he was quoted as saying.
He, therefore, questioned the rationale behind declaring ownership of a gift that he had disposed of.
On the N70 million bribe allegation, the ex-minister said there was “unnecessary confusion” over the money and his alleged role.
Orubebe said he asked President Goodluck Jonathan, the Attorney-General of the Federation and the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) to revoke about seven shoddily-handled contracts for the construction of skill acquisition centres in the Niger-Delta region, only for a pastor, who owned one of such contracts, to pay in the sum of N20 million into the accounts of Glory Christian Sanctuary, an evangelism centre the ex-minister built in his village.
“I saw that there was N20 million deposit in the account of the centre. I asked them who brought the money and they said it was my private secretary, Akpokome, a civil servant.
“I asked him and he told me that it was the pastor that gave him the money; I was so furious and I told him that the same way he collected the money, he should return it to the man”.