19.63B IMO LG FUND SAGA: I CAN ONLY ACCOUNT FOR N3.7B…IHEDIOHA
Following the quash of ex-parte application order by Owerri High Court presided over by Justice S.I. Opara, instituted by Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, the immediate past Governor of Imo State asking the court to stop the state House of Assembly from probing the alleged N19.63B allegedly squandered by his 7 months old Re-build Imo administration, the erstwhile Governor said that his administration will only account for N3.7B out of the said amount as expended by the 27 Local Government Areas between May 29th, 2019 and December 31st, 2019 as his administration.
Ihedioha made the claim during a press conference titled “why Ihedioha went to court”-PDP, held at the State Secretariat of PDP, Owerri and presided by Hon. Ray Emeana, the Party’s State Secretary.
The party applauded Ihedioha for approaching the Imo State High Court with a view to seeking redress on the on-going investigation or “Probe” of the purported missing N19.63B Local Government funds in the State.
They pointed out that the interim Audit Report of the Auditor General of the LGAs in the State covered the period from 1st January, 2019 to December 31st, 2019 and had queried various officers, and MDAs to explain the various expenditures made totaling N19.63B.
According to them “it is instructive to note that the former governor, Rochas Okorocha was the Imo State Governor from January 1, 2019 to May 28, 2019. Whereas, Emeka Ihedioha was the Imo State Governor from May 29, 2019 to December 31 2019 which is the period that the Interim Audit Report covered. It noted that out of the N19.63B LGA expenditure in question, approximately N16B was expended between January 1 2019 and May 28 2019, which falls within the Rochas Okorocha led administration. Therefore, Ihedioha’s administration can only account for approximately N3.7b that was spent by the 27 LGAs between May 29, 2019 to December 31, 2019” they stated.
In view of this, the party claimed that the Ihedioha led 7 month old administration would only explain how it spent N3.7b out of the said missing N19.63b within the accounting period while the balance of about N16b should be accounted for by the Rescue Mission regime of Senator Rochas Okorocha.
They described the invitation of former governor Ihedioha and some of his officials by the State House of Assembly on issues concerning the alleged misappropriation of funds as Kangaroo and a demonstration of extreme bias and a clear premeditated case of witch-hunt, without pretense to impartiality and objectivity.
They further expressed dismay that “the matter was referred to the Public Accounts Committee of the House of Assembly that had no member of their party-PDP. The Minority caucus of the PDP in the State House of Assembly had petitioned the Speaker to reconstitute the committee and not only include PDP members but to make a PDP member chairman as has been the procedure in the Imo State House of Assembly since 1999, to ensure fairness and transparency but Mr. Speaker rejected the plea”.
They noted that it is based on the circumstances that the erstwhile governor deemed it imperative to seek intervention of the Court following alleged obvious breaches in the processes and procedures of the purported probe.
They also said that the party, would want the court to determine whether the procedure for investigation is consistent with sections 128, 129 and 125 of the nation’s 1999 constitution as amended and Imo State Local Government Administration law, section 129 (1) that contained the procedures for the auditing of Public Account and Local Governments.
They insisted that they have no intention what so-ever of stopping or evading any investigation or probe but rather they are out to establish that rule of law, due process and fair play are applied in the entire process.