The Rivers state government has said the minister of transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, sold the assets of the state while he was governor and diverted the proceeds – N112 billion – to fund the political activities of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The commissioner for information in the state, Emma Okah, said this in a statement on Monday, saying Mr Amaechi has a case to answer over the alleged sales of gas turbine power stations belonging to the state government.
According to him, Amaechi, who was the governor of the state at the time, sold off the power stations to Sahara Energy, owned by a billionaire businessman from the state, Tonye Cole, towards the end of his administration.
Recall that Mr. Cole recently resigned from the board of Sahara Energy to “join active politics”.
He is believed to be Amaechi’s favourite for the APC ticket for the 2019 Rivers governorship election.
“The reason for Tonye Dele Cole is now better explained. There is need to cover the skeletons in the cupboard,” Mr Okah claimed in the statement.
The alleged diversion of the funds was the reason the Amaechi administration left many projects uncompleted and owed salaries and pensions to workers before he left office in 2015, the commissioner further stated.
Apart from the power assets, Sahara Energy also bought the Olympia Hotel and other high-value state assets under suspicious circumstances from the administration, Okah added.
“The Justice Omereji Commission of Inquiry investigated the spurious sales and indicted the Minister of Transport and instead of refunding the money, the Minister rushed to court to set aside the findings of the Commission. He lost at the high court and at the Court of Appeal. His appeal to the Supreme Court been abandoned because, for over a year, he has failed to file a brief of argument,” Mr Okah recalled.
Mr Amaechi could not be reached for his response ast at the time of filing this report. Whatsapp message sent to him were not answered.