The Imo governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Emeka Ihedioha has raised alarm over a “dubious” withdrawal of N1.2billion from the coffers of Imo State Government by outgoing governor Rochas Okorocha, under a shady consultancy contract “for the illegal purposes of funding Okorocha and his son inlaw’s desperate bids to maintain Imo as their cash cow through the upcoming elections.”
Mr. Ihedioha alleged this in a statement on Wednesday by spokesperson of his campaign organisation, Kissinger Ikeokwu, which was sent to CHECKPOINTCHARLEY.
Under the suspicious payment, “Okorocha illegally paid a private consultancy firm a whopping sum of N1,200,000,000.00 (one billion, two hundred million Naira), as six months payment in advance, purportedly for payment of salaries for six months at a monthly remuneration of N200,000,00000 (two hundred million naira) monthly, the statement said.
According to the former speaker of the Nigerian House of Representatives, the “shady contract with the yet to be named company is suspicious” because the Okorocha administration remembered to engage a contractor to manage payment of workers salaries just three months to the end of its eight years tenure.
He pointed out that the unilateral agreement entered on behalf of the state by Governor Okorocha and his family will mortgage Imo finances to a consultancy firm whereby the state is required to pay N200 million monthly.
Mr. Ihedioha noted that such is illegal, fraudulent and unacceptable.
The statement read in part, “The news that this government has just paid the private consultancy firm a whopping sum of N1,200,000 (one Billion, two hundred million Naira), upfront as payment for six months in advance for service not rendered, is fraudulent and stands condemned.
“Why will a government that has only three months to the end of its tenure tie Imo people to such waste of scarce resources? Why would Imo State government pay a private firm N200,000,00000 (two hundred million naira) monthly for mere payment of salaries, a service the Imo State Ministry of Finance has been handling even in the final three months of its administration.
“The manner in which the state government paid six months fee upfront to the tune of N1.2 Billion exposes the deep intents that this contract is a mere ploy to divert Imo funds for the illegal purposes of funding Okorocha and his son inlaw’s desperate bids to maintain Imo as their cash cow through the upcoming elections.
“We therefore call on the Rochas Okorocha administration to immediately cancel the fraudulent contract and return the said sum of N1,200,000 (one Billion, two hundred million Naira) paid up front to the shady firm with immediate effect.
“We wish to use this same opportunity to warn the relevant personnel of the Imo State Ministry of Finance to resist all illegal orders that will pitch them against the relevant laws of the land, as the Okorocha administration begin their last desperate plundering of Imo State funds and properties in the final weeks of its failed administration. Any person whether staff of Imo State government or individual who aides this government in any manner to misappropriate public funds will answer for it at the appropriate time.”
The PDP candidate urged Imo people to speak up against the plundering of “our state’s common wealth as we endure the last days of Rochas Okorocha misgovernance in Imo.”
He however vowed to trace and recover all Imo funds and properties stolen by this current administration and their cronies if elected governor.
Okorocha’s Government was yet to respond to this allegation as at the time of filing this report.
His Chief Press Secretary, Sam Onwuemeodo had yet to return to our calls.
Mr. Okorocha is running for senate in the 2019 elections under the platform of the ruling party, All Progressives Congress (APC), while his son-in-law and former chief of staff, Uche Nwosu is seeking under the banner of Action Alliance to replace his father-in-law as governor.