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Akpabio’s campaign staff, legislative aide bicker over letter seeking funds from USAID

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A former Director of Special Duties in Senator Godswill Akpabio’s 2023 campaign council, Zion Umoh has refuted allegations of fraudulently trying to obtain money from the United States Agency for International Development, USAID.

The allegations against Umoh have consequently led to a war of words with the office of the Senate President, over the controversial letter seeking development funds from USAID.

The alleged letter dated November 13, 2023, addressed to the USAID Mission Director in Abuja, was requesting the sum of N700 million from the US agency, allegedly for educational projects and programmes in Akwa Ibom Northwest, Ikot Ekpene, senatorial district, which is the Senate Presidents native district.

A senior legislative aide to the Senate President, Mfon Patrick had accused Zion Umoh of posing as the director of special duties to the Senate President to write the letter, saying it is a clear case of impersonation and fraud.

However, Umoh, who had worked as the Director of Special Duties for Akpabio in the past denied the allegations, insisting he did not write the letter to USAID.

He claimed that the plan had been hatched to defame his character before the Senate President and members of the public

He explained, “Arch Ubokutom Nyah was the Campaign Director General for Senator Godswill Akpabio. He appointed me the Director of Special Duties and he can testify that my Office had or has no letterhead.

“I did not write any letter. There is no way I would have written a letter demanding funds without the letter passing through the Office of the DG Arch Ubokobong Nya.

“The signature on the letter is not my own. The fake letter is published on social media by a senior legislative aide to The Senate President.

“I travelled to the United Kingdom on the 15th Day of August 2023 and have not visited Nigeria till date. I don’t understand how USAID Abuja received a letter from me on the 13th of November 2023.

“I have never in my life written a letter that has to do with contract or supply and I have no registered company in Nigeria”.

Umoh disclosed that he has asked his lawyers to initiate legal action against the Office of the Senate President to clear his name.

He also urged security agencies to compel the Office of the Senate President and USAID’s mission director to produce the author of the fake letter.

In a reaction, the senior legislative aide to the Senate President, Mfon Patrick insisted the letter emanated from Umoh.

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“Zion Umoh worked as the Director of Special Duties in Senator Akpabio’s campaign council last year. He wasn’t and hasn’t been appointed by the Senate President into any office named Special Duties.

‘It is an act of fraud for Umoh to have posed as the Director of Special Duties in the Office of the Senate President to write the letter to USAID requesting educational development funds for Ikot Ekpene senatorial district.

“We are not going to allow this matter slip because it is an attempt to tarnish the integrity of the Senate President, Senator Godswill Akpabio”.

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