…Petition to EFCC is politically motivated – Consultant
Revenue consultants in Cross River state, Flourishing Vine Unique Services Limited has denied allegations that the state government has lost over N1.01 billion as revenue to the activities of consultants.
An anonymous petition was initially sent the EFCC but a group under the name “Concerned Cross River State Indigenes” in an advertorial in one of the national dailies signed by an engineer, Mr Ayamba Ntui in an open letter to His Excellency the Executive Governor of Cross River State, Prof. Ben Ayade alleged that the consultants should be sanctioned as they have caused the state to lose over N1.0150 billion as revenue.
The petitioner specifically mentioned the Director of the firm, Ntufam Okon Nyong Owuna, Dominic Omin the erstwhile Head of Operations of Flourishing Vine Unique Services limited, some staff of Akamkpa Local Government Council and the Head of Local Government Administration as well as some companies operating in the Council area as culprits
But in a reaction, the Director of Administration, Flourishing Vine Unique Services Limited Mr. Asuquo Akpan said all the persons mentioned in the petition have visited the EFCC and back saying all the allegations against the consultants and the local government area are false and “it is believed that the persons behind the anonymous petition and the newspaper advert are Mrs. Judith Bozimo and the National Assembly member representing Akamkpa/Biase Federal constituency of Cross River State, Hon. Daniel Asuquo, popularly known as “Dansuki.” Though the honorable Rep. had tried to absolve himself of blame before the elders and Chiefs of Old Netim” in Akamkpa Local Government Area.
He said, “We are here, letting you know that the cause of these frivolous allegations and falsehood is the political interest and ambition of one man who has vowed to crush any person in his local government area of origin who refuses to come under his influence.
The aim of the petitioners is to tarnish the image of Ntufam Owuna and to cast him in bad light to the government of Cross River State and possibly instigate a revocation of the Revenue Consultancy between Flourishing Vine Limited and the government of Cross River State.
“All revenue of Cross River State government and that of Akamkpa local government are often duly remitted as agreed in the terms of contract Flourishing Vine entered into”.
“It is worthy to note that Ntufam Owuna had established a sprawling business empire long before his company was contracted as a revenue consultant to the Cross River State Government in 2016. His assets and liabilities are verifiable and he has instructed his lawyers to respond accordingly to the libelous publications against him by Vanguard newspaper of 30th July 2019” Akpan further stated,
He called on media, saying “the media should be wary of those with anonymous petitions some of who have a track record of violent conduct right from the Donald Duke era as Governor of Cross River State. Innocent persons have had their reputations injured because of easy access to the media and urgency of the newsman who falls short of being meticulous”.
He linked the entire petition to Akamkpa politics and 2023 governorship election in the state saying, “Hon Asuquo has plans to cause crisis and division within the ranks of the PDP stakeholders in Akamkpa Local Government believing that with the party structure being loyal to the leadership of Governor Ben Ayade there is no guarantee for his 2023 ambition.
“There is no doubt that Hon Daniel Asuquo has the constitutional right to contest for governorship as he has openly expressed interest, but his vaulting ambition is leading him to actions and unnecessary battles that are even counterproductive.”
Akpan also said “the National Assembly member was disappointed with Ntufam Owuna when he heard that Owuna would rather support Dr. Emil Inyang from Biase local government area at the party primary elections against his wish to return to the National Assembly. Owuna’s position was that Biase Local Government should have a shot at the Federal seat since Akamkpa had held sway for the past 8 years. This infuriated Dansuki and he vowed before some persons, saying “Ntufam Owuna would not step his foot in Akamkpa Town during Elections.
The statement alleged that the law maker may be planning anti party noting that , “in the event of the local government elections holding in the state, he is targeting some politically exposed persons that will not align with his anti-party agenda and plots. In fact, it is on record that Ntufam Owuna as the PDP campaign coordinator for Akamkpa local government area in the 2019 elections worked assiduously for all candidates of the PDP but Hon. Asuquo had a different plan to frustrate the chances of the House of Assembly members for the two-state constituencies in Akamkpa”.
“The 2023 election is still far away, and the best option at this point in time is to ask God for life. One man’s vaulting ambition should not be used to destroy innocent ones”.
The statement on behalf of flourishing Vine Unique Services limited revealed a war of attrition between Hon. Asuquo, Mrs. Judith Bozimo and Ntufam Owuna, all of who are cousins.
“Bothered by the acrimony between Hon. Asuquo and Ntufam Owuna, the Joint Ntufam’s Council of Akamkpa 1 State constituency under the aegis of Chiefs of Quarry Landlords communities, called for a meeting on the 27th of June 2019 at Old Netim, Akamkpa LGA. There was a second meeting on the 3rd of July 2019.
At the second meeting, Hon. Asuquo pretended that he would let peace reign but Ntufam Owuna told the chiefs and elders that “knowing Hon. Asuquo, he would not relent. Having been stopped from using the Police by a court judgment, he may go to EFCC or CCB (Code of Conduct Bureau) to further harass and intimidate”.
The statement further noted that, “worried by incessant harassments by Hon Asuquo and petitions from fictitious names suspected to be his handwork, Ntufam Owuna and one Hon. Ofutane Paul dragged the federal lawmaker and others to the Federal High Court to seek redress for the violation of their Fundamental Human Rights in suits no :. FHC/CA/FHR/70/2019 and FHC/CA/FHR/71/2019.
Accordingly, “judgment was eventually entered for the two suits respectively on July 4th, 2019 by Hon. Justice S. A. Amobeda of the Federal High Court Calabar, ordering that “…the Respondents, their Agents, Privies or subordinates are hereby restrained from further inviting, intimidating, harassing and threatening to arrest the Applicant based on any allegation touching on a phony petition written by the 1st Respondent”.
“that the sum of N1.million only is awarded against the 1st. Respondent Hon. Daniel Asuquo as general damages for instigating the 3rd to 5th Respondents to invite the Applicant to Abuja for an aborted interview.”
Equally contained in the sited judgment is “That the sum of N100, 000 only is awarded in favor of the Applicant (Ntufam Owuna) being the Solicitor’s fees incurred in the prosecution of this Application”.
Akpan reiterated that “the aim of the petitioners is to tarnish the image of Ntufam Owuna and to cast him in bad light to the government of Cross River State and possibly instigate a revocation of the Revenue Consultancy between Flourishing Vine Limited and the government of Cross River State”.