In what has been described as the love of association of evil, the governor of Akwa Ibom State has among his numerous government officials a renowned fraudster popularly called 419 in Nigeria.
In series of investigation by Elombah.com to ascertain the veracity of documents made available to the newspaper, we confirmed that Barr. Dan Bassey Morrow who is a member of the Board of Directors of Akwa Ibom Newspapers Corporation (AKNC) with law firm located at No 51, Afaha Uqua Road in Eket has a long history of a fraud. Ironically he is also the State Chairman, forum of Board Members in Akwa Ibom State
To the undiscerning mind, Mr Morrow was given such names by his parents but fact findings by this newspaper reveals that he was originally named Ime Edet Bassey at birth by his parents, a name he bore till he got entangled in a cob of webs in the then University of Cross Rivers, now University of Uyo (UNIUYO) which he attended.
He secured admission into the University with a registration number 87/UGO 2903 and with the name Ime Edet Baseey to read Communication Arts. While in the then University of Cross River, he began to engage in dubious actions. In various documents made available to Elombah.com, we gathered that he criminally and fraudulently represented himself as employee/personnel of Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited, printed for himself an ID card, produced and sold fake Mobil scholarship application forms to unsuspecting students of the then University of Cross Rivers State for a fee.
When his fraudulent activities and impersonation was discovered by Mobil, the company reported this illegal transaction to the management of the university resulting to an investigation by the Senate of the university.
Upon conclusion of its investigation, the Senate of the university found him guilty and accordingly expelled him from the university. When the federal Government of Nigeria took over the University of Cross Rivers State and renamed it University of Uyo, the said Barr. Dan Bassey Morrow then bearing his real name Ime Edet Bassey appealed to the Senate of the University of Uyo for revocation of his expulsion. However, his appeal was dismissed out rightly by the University Senate via a letter dated 30th June, 1992.
In a fast move to save his black spotted destiny due to his expulsion, he quickly changed his name from Ime Edet Bassey to Dan Bassey Morrow and applied for admission to read law in the University of Abuja, which he got admitted to. After the completion of his LLB which sources said was gotten through examination malpractice; he was called to the Bar in 2000.
HIS LIFE OF FRAUD BEGINS
Morrow who hails from Etebi Idunga Ita Village instead of being a messiah to his people has rather become a thorn in the flesh of the community, becoming the most dreaded tormentor in chief and forming a parallel lawless group which he heads all in a bid to rival the authentic community leader and village head, Chief Okon Ibok Itaeyo. Some of the crimes which were listed against him and found to be true by our team of reporters are:
a. On April 11, 2013, one Hon. Daniel Okon Akpe of the notorious group and other members attacked one Nsini Itaeyo and others in the house of Mrs. Nkoyo Sunday Bassey in the village with machete. A machete was recovered from them. The said machete was deposited with the village head.
b. On March 27, 2013, the group chased one Okon Sunday Matthew and Uwem Okon Ibok with machetes and guns in the bush because they were nominated by the village head to work with Septa Company. The incident was reported to the Police Area Command, Oron. When the Police visited Idung Ita, they escaped.
c. On January 26, 2013, the group removed traditional injunction (Ofot Isong) placed at Etebi Idung Ita village hall and used the hall against village order. This very desecration of the traditional institution was reported to the Paramount Ruler Esit Eket local Government Area. He was invited by the paramount Ruler but he never honoured the invitation.
2. Betrayal of Trust and Compromising of Clients’ cases: The relationship between a lawyer and his client is that of trust and confidence, lawyers by their professional ethics are required to demonstrate fidelity, integrity and good conscience in dealing with clients.
However, Barr. Dan Bassey Morrow is a bad sheep in the legal profession. He is a habitual betrayer who compromises the cases and interest of his clients. The following examples support this claim:
(a). Etebi Idung Unity Forum, a coalition of unemployed youths in Etebi Idung Ita village had written a formal complaint over what the youths called flagrant disregard and marginalization of unemployed youths in the area to the then Executive Chairman of Esit Eket Local Government Area and Mr. Effiong J. Ekpedoho who was the then Chairman of the Industrial Matters and Employment Committee. On 20th and 28th February, 2013, through the law firm of Barr. Morrow.
On Thursday 20th March, 2003, a legal action was instituted against the Chairman, Esit Eket Local Government Area in a suit number. HEK/MISC/30/2003 with Barr. Dan Bassey Morrow as the counsel for the unemployed youths. Less than three months after the institution of the case, Barr. Morrow compromised the interest of his clients and betrayed the trust reposed in him by the community. He abandoned the case and accepted a political appointment from the very person his client (Etebi Idung Unity Forum) had dragged to court for marginalization as a legal Adviser for Esit Eket local Government Area. This action prejudiced his client’s case as he not only abandoned the case halfway but never cared to offer any explanation to his clients.
b. There was a chieftaincy dispute involving one Chief Frank Ibok Ita eyo and Etebi Idung Ita village dating back to 1988. In 2001, the village decided to sue Chief Frank Ibok Ita eyo (now late) in order to restrain him from parading himself or being recognized as the viallage head of Etebi Idung Ita. Barr. Dan Bassey Morrow, a native of the village, volunteered to take up the case pro bono (free of charge) as part of his contribution to the community. Necessary documents in respect of the case and money were made available to him. In December, 2001, the suit was filed (Suit No. HEK/134/2001), Barr. Morrow instead of pursuing the case to a logical conclusion turned around and demanded that his own father. Mr. Edet Bassey Mkpong, be made the village head as a solution to the chieftaincy dispute. This outrageous demand was rejected by the community. In his reaction, Barr. Morrow abandoned the case as there was never any court sitting in the matter and transferred his allegiance to the opponent of his client (the defendant) Chief Frank Ibok Itaeyo.
Sometime in 2002, Chief Frank Ibok Ita eyo was surprisingly awarded a certificate of recognition as the village head of Etebi Idung Ita, an indication that Barr. Morrow had compromised the case. On the 1st February, 2003, Barr. Morrow was appointed by Chief Frank Ibok Itaeyo as his Secretary/ Legal Adviser.
Despite all these, Barr. Morrow till date has refused to return to the community the documents he was given to aid him pursue the chieftaincy case, Instead. On 3rd February, 2003, he assaulted Prince (Now Elder) Okon E. Nkwo in his chambers who was the person through which the community handed over those documents to him for daring to visit his office to retrieve the said documents after persistent appeals had failed.
Till today, those ancestral documents are still being detained by Barr. Morrow.
Representation of Fictitious Families with Criminal Intention
Following the payment of compensation to the 12 existing and recognized families by Septa Energy Nigeria Ltd for owners of economic tress affected by the 2nd Phase Septa Pipeline Project as it affects Etebi Idung Ita village, Esit Eket LGA, Barr. Dan Bassey Morrow falsely and knowingly represented to Septa Energy Nigeria Ltd that six families were wrongly excluded from the land inspection remuneration and compensation for the 2nd Phase Septa Pipeline Project in Etebi Idung. He proceeded to manufacture six fictitious families as follows:
1. “Idung Etang Okok family” – represented by “Chief Simeon Asuquo Bassey”
2. “Idung Umoita family” – represented by “Chief David Mkponyong”.
3. “Idung Etok Ikpa family” – represented by “Chief Umo Ikinyi”.
4. “Idung Ikinyi family” – represented by “Chief Akwaowo Bassey”
5. “Idung Awe family” – represented by “Chief Bassey James Mkpong” and
6. “Idung Udoyo family” – represented by “Chief Udoyo Udoyo:
The above six so – called families are not known to the people of Etebi Idung Ita village but only exist in the imagination of Barr. Dan Bassey Morrow who manufactured same in order to defraud the company.
The following facts as regards to the purported families were noted by Elombah.com
1. The said “Chief” Simeon Asuquo Bassey who he purports to be representing the so-called Idung Etang Okok family is a cousin to Barr. Morrow who incidentally is a member one of the recognized families in Etebi Idung Ita headed by Chief Edet Simon Morrow who happens to be the biological father of Barr. Morrow. (Note that his father’s name has been affected by his expulsion from the then University of Cross Rivers States as earlier stated following his demand that members of his family should change their names accordingly).
2. The said “Chief David Mkpongonyong” said to be representing “Idung Inyang Umoita family” is a younger biological brother of Barr. Morrow who now goes by name David Bassey Morrow as directed by Barr. Morrow.
3. There is no person bearing the name Chief Umo Ikinyi neither is there a family known as Idung Etok Ikpa in Etebi Idung Ita village. It should be observed that the names “Ikinyi” and “Etok Ikpa” in Ekid Nation are feminine names; therefore same cannot be associated with family headship in accordance with the customs and traditions of the Ekid Nation.
4. The said “Chief Bassey James Mkpong” a carpenter, now addressed as James Bassey Morrow is a biological brother of Barr. Dan Bassey Morrow.
5. There is no person bearing the name Chief Akwaowo Bassey neither is there a family known as Idung Ikinyi in Etebi Idung Ita.
6. There is no person bearing the name Chief Udoyo Udoyo neither is there a family known as Idung Udoyo in Etebi Idung Ita.
Upon discovery by Septa Energy that the purported six families were fictitiously and fraudulently represented by Barr. Morrow, the company rejected his demand for compensation for the said families. Not being satisfied, Barr. Morrow proceeded to the High court and filed an action thereby stopping the twelve existing and legally recognized families from withdrawing the amount paid to them by the company all in an effort to frustrate the people of Etebi Idung Ita in the hope that they will negotiate with him.
Petition to the NBA
On 31st May, 2013, Etebi Idung Ita village came to a conclusion that the best way to handle the fraudulent black sheep of the temple of justice was to send a petition to the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) which they did, but we gathered that the NBA was compromised by Morrow and the petition was never looked into. Another reminder was sent to the NBA on 13th August 2013, but it still never saw the light of the day. According to sources, Morrow is untouchable by the NBA as he claims to have the leadership in his pockets. Our source stated that Morrow has boasted that the light will never see the light of the day as the panelists were his friends during their days in Nigeria law school. We also gathered that he has secured the services of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), a friend whom he boasts of being capable of quashing the case.
The Petition to the Nigeria Police Force
Being a law abiding community, Etebi Idung Ita rather than resorting to self-help sent a formal petition to the Assistant Inspector General of Police Zone 6. Calabar, Cross Rivers state..) The AIG referred the petition to the Commissioner of Police Akwa Ibom State Police Command. The Akwa Ibom State Police Commissioner ordered an investigation into the matter as directed by the AIG Zone 6.
In his characteristic disdain for Rule of law, Barr. Morrow and members of his group treated the investigation of the police with gross levity, invitations were extended to Barr. Morrow and members of his group by the State Police Command. However, Barr Morrow honoured just the first and second invitations, subsequent invitations of 18th and 24th September, 2013, and 3rdOctober, 2013, were ignored by Barr. Morrow and members of his group. Etebi Idung Ita as complainant honoured all the invitations through its representatives.
Regrettably, the Nigeria police abandoned the case after Barr. Morrow and his group had failed to honour the subsequent invitation. No action has been taken ever since by the police. Barr. Morrow who has severally boasted that the State Commissioner of Police would be relieved of his post if he dares interfere in his nefarious activities have carried-out more attacks on the community with impunity.
In various cry for help, the community is asking the police and the Federal Government to bring Mr Morrow to book as well as return all the documents given to him to pursue cases for them which he never did.
All efforts to speak to those concerned, especially on the Septa issue proved abortive, despite our visit to the community, as they declined to speak, noting that the matter was in court.