The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has arrested a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Patricia Etteh, over a shady contract worth N240m awarded by the Niger Delta Development Commission.
Etteh, it was learnt, was at the Abuja office of the EFCC on Tuesday and had yet to be released as of 9 pm.
The former speaker was said to have received N130m through her personal account from Phil Jin Project Limited, a firm to which the NDDC awarded a N240m contract in 2011.
Officials of the EFCC told The PUNCH that Etteh had been unable to explain why the firm transferred N130m to her out of the money.
A top EFCC official said, “Etteh is currently in our custody. What happened was that in 2011, the NDDC awarded a contract of N240m to Phil Jin Project Limited for the supply of solar-powered street lights in some communities in Akwa Ibom.
“Shortly after the contract was awarded, the firm got N34m as an initial sum. Two weeks later, they received N253m, a total of N287m. This is despite the fact that the contract itself was worth N240m.
“Etteh is not a director in the company or a contractor. But the company paid her N130m. So, she was invited to explain what the money was for and she has been unable to do so. It is either the company is fronting for her or there are some shady deals. We cannot ascertain the execution of the contract in any case.”
Etteh, who represented the Ayedaade/Isokan/Irewole Constituency of Osun State from 1999 to 2011, was the first woman to serve as Speaker of the House of Representatives. She, however, resigned and was replaced by Dimeji Bankole.