How Rochas Okorocha Looted N130 Billion Imo LG Funds – ALGON
Chairmen of the 27 local government areas of Imo state under the aegis of Association of Local Governments of Nigeria, ALGON has accused the Executive governor of Imo state, Owelle Anayo Rochas Okorocha of embezzling the sum of N130 billion belonging to the local government.
The group in a petition to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC as well as the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC dated and submitted on December 17th, 2012 detailed how the governor diverted and looted over N45 billion of public funds within few months of a tenure of four years.
Already, indicated emerged that the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC confirmed has commenced investigation on the petition it received. The source said “the Commission is already investigating some of the weighty allegations of embezzlement levelled against Okorocha in the petition sent by ALGON, Imo state chapter to our Commission. Our own probe has nothing to do with what the EFCC is doing there, we will handle those offences that fall under our purview to deal with.”
The full text of the fraud allegations leveled against Governor Okorocha and his aides is reproduced below:
PETITION AGAINST MISAPPROPRIATION, DIVERSION, FRAUDULENT CONVERSION AND GROSS ABUSE OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT STATUTORY ALLOCATION AND FUNDS OF THE 27 (TWENTY SEVEN) LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREAS OF IMO STATE BY THE IMO STATE GOVERNMET, AGENCIES AND FUNCTIONARIES NAMELY:
- THE GOVERNOR OF IMO STATE CHIEF ETHELBERT ANAYO OKOROCHA.
- THE PERMANENT SECRETARY MINISTRY OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND CHIEFTAINCY AFFAIRS, MRS. L. ASUZU.
- THE HON. COMMISSIONER FOR FINANCE IMO STATE, MR. CHIKE OKAFOR.
- THE HON. COMMISSIONER FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND CHIEFTAINCY AFFAIRS IMO STATE, CHIEF GERRY OKOLIE.
- THE PURPORTED TRANSITION COMMITTEE CHAIRMEN OF THE 27 LOCAL GOVERNMENT OF IMO STATE, (Names attached)
- THE ACCOUNTANT GENERAL OF IMO STATE, MR ECHE
- THE SECRETARY OF THE IMO STATE GOVERNMENT, PROF GOZIE ANWUKAH
- CHAIRMAN LOCAL GOVERNMENT SERVICE COMMISSION, CHIEF JUDE EJIOGU.
On the 5th day of July 2012 in a landmark judgment the Federal Court of Appeal Owerri division reinstated the 27 Democratically Elected Local Government Administration of Imo State, illegally dissolved by the Governor of Imo State in a statewide broadcast of 6th June 2011. On resumption of office it was discovered by us as follows;
(A) That the Imo State House of Assembly in a House Resolution approved for the Governor of Imo State to borrow the sum of N45,000,000,000.00 (FORTY FIVE BILLION NAIRA) FROM ZENITH BANK PLC, the said sum having been actually borrowed using the Imo Local Government Statutory allocation as collateral for a three year tenure;
(B) Another sum of N28,000,000,000.00 (TWENTY EIGHT BILLION NAIRA) was also approved by the Imo House of Assembly and said sum also borrowed from DIAMOND BANK PLC with Imo Local Government Statutory allocation as collateral for a three year tenure. It must be noted that the respective Local Governments are by the extant laws entitled to originate the sourcing of loans and relevant projects for their respective local government areas.
(C) That 90% of road contracts awarded by the government in Imo State with the above whopping sums were without due process. There is a clear evidence that except for grading haphazardly no appreciable work has been done for more than a year now on the road projects.
(D) It is on record that contractors handling the road projects in Imo State were not issued with contract papers. The ministry of works that ought to supervise the award process became a total stranger to these frivolous contracts.
(E) It is also on record that the Secretary to the State government never invited tenders through the Imo State Tenders Board and where contracts were awarded no publications were made to show the names of contractors who won them and till date nobody knows the value of those contracts.
(F) It is also on record that most of the contracts were unilaterally awarded by the Speaker of Imo State House of Assembly and his colleagues without tender or any iota of due process. It was with a view to compromising the state legislature in its constitutional oversight functions that the leadership of the house of assembly became a contract awarding agency of the Imo state government. In fact it was so arbitrary that even market women were aware of the wanton disregard for due process by the Imo State government.
(G) It is further revealed that the Manager of Zenith bank Owerri Mr. Chike Okafor who is now on secondment as Imo Commissioner for Finance, packaged the above jumbo loan with apparent disregard to guidelines on state loans and public procurement despite knowing that he was using the wrong collateral (Imo Local Government Statutory Allocation).
It is further revealed that Statutory allocation to Imo state local Government which is supposed to be disbursed after Joint Allocation meeting with Executive Chairmen in now kept in an illegal account ‘tagged’ project accounts domiciled with zenith bank plc the erstwhile employers of the commissioner for finance. The Hon Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs Mr Gerry Okolie as the sole signatory. The said money is disbursed and used arbitrarily with reckless abandon. It is materially and legally settled that Local Government allocation can neither be disbursed nor used without the elected local government chairmen attending JAAC meeting and approving such disbursement and or usage. If proper disbursement during when elected chairmen were out of office may be excused, which is not conceded; is there any legal or exigent justification for disbursement and use of July 2012 allocation when federal Court of Appeal reinstated the Executive Chairmen on 5th July 2012. The above question is for the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs and Permanent Secretary Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs to answer.
(H) It is further revealed that at local government level, monies meant for projects were withdrawn and misappropriated by 27 Former Local Government Transition Committee Chairmen as we discovered that HOD works of the 27 Local Governments provided no evidence for any projects carried out. When this became public knowledge, the local government Directors of Administration and General Services and Treasurers were assembled at some hotels in Owerri, to falsify papers for which they were paid bribe sum of 250,000 naira each.
(I) It is to our collective knowledge that for almost a year now a large chunk of the allocations meant for the Local Government from the Federal Account are being deducted at source by the respective Zenith Bank Plc and Diamond Plc in repayment of the aforesaid jumbo loan grant which is under serious misappropriation with the then purported Transition Committee Chairmen signing out their blue forms provided for them by the Governor evidencing receipt of their various Local Government allocations with little or nothing done on ground except staff salaries which are being paid irregularly and at venues outside the respective local governments headquarters. It is also evident that despite the court of Appeal Judgment, the illegal Transition committee chairmen and members were paid July 2012 salaries.
(J) It is on record that the above catalogue of withdrawals, misappropriation, disregard to public procurement rules, happen under the nose of the Accountant General of Imo State. He has connived, aided and abetted gross financial impropriety in Imo state.
(K) The above functionaries of Imo State Government ought to explain what the whopping sums of money obtained as loans on behalf of Imo State Local Government as above.
(L) They are also to explain what happened to over N57,700,000,000.00 (fifty seven billion, seven hundred million naira) received as statutory allocation of Imo State Local Government from the federation account between June 2011 and June 2012 (the breakdown list is attached for ease of reference).
(M) The need to investigate the misappropriation of the statutory allocation of Imo State Local Government arrears since the inception of the Okorocha administration is imperative not only because the court has declared that the dissolution of the elected chairmen is illegal, but also because of the aggravating and reckless manner of the dissolution given the presumption that the Attorney General of Imo State and Commissioner for Justice must have advised him.
(N) More importantly the fact that the projects claimed to have been executed with the money by Imo State Government – the proposed 15 kilometer road project and general hospital project in each of the local governments which projects are still at shell stages all over the state, despite the projects having commenced more than ten Months Ago.
(O) We further urge you sir, to use your good office to ensure a speedier intervention in this matter with a view to seeing that the Imo State Joint Local Government Account which now serve as a conduit for the said unholy act of misappropriation of the State Fund is blocked in order to save the good people of Imo State from enslavement, underdevelopment and shackles of indebtedness, and to further save this month’s allocation of the Imo State Local Government Council, from the Federation Account.
(P) We wish to restate the obvious fact that the above stated huge loans obtained from the various banks have not been put to any good use but have been diverted misappropriated and fraudulently converted to their personal uses by the Governor and his Government officials listed above.
The 27 Local Government transition committee Chairman (TC Chairmen) whose named are annexed herein are the Principal agents and conduit for the gross misappropriation and diversion as non of the councils in Imo State have witnessed any development project on account of the huge loans.
It is regrettable that the Local Government Administration in Imo State is grossly abused, raped and systematically being destroyed by a Contrived recklessness and Unrepentant Corruption.
The company ROCHE, an acronym clearly similar to ROCHAS acts as clearing house for all contracts and projects warehoused under the said funds. A thorough investigation of the operation and ownership of the company which came into operation in Imo State only after the election of Governor Rochas Okorocha will reveal a lot.
There is no doubt that the company is a big conduit for diversion of Local Government funds.
It is important for you to investigate also how the Governor leased Adapalm Ltd to Roche group for 3.5 billion naira which they did not pay a kobo for. Instead Imolites were informed by the Governor that he had directed the said foreign company to use the proceeds from leasing Adapalm to erect 305 primary school classroom blocks in the 305 electoral wards in the state. It must be noted that till date no such buildings have been constructed by Roche group and it is noteworthy that Imo state government lost the revenue accruable from this transaction (5% VAT and 5% WHT).
The Governor most unconscionably has acquired a private Aircraft with which he travels overseas at random. The Aircraft was purchased after he was sworn in to office as Governor with public funds and is serviced with Imo State Government funds. Most time this Aircraft brings him to work on a daily basis from Abuja to Imo airport.
We also believe it is the statutory allocation of Imo L.G.A.S that he is using in his claim of building 3 (Three) nos. five start hotels in the three zones of Orlu, Okigwe and Owerri for which he claimed in his 2013 budget speech to have paid 40% as mobilization for each hotel project. The Contract value and Contractors are unknown and there was no tender or building process for these conduit Projects which is contrary to Public Procurement Act and Fiscal Responsibility Act.
It is also noteworthy that the Governor has been able to repurchase all his private properties mortgaged or sold before he became Governor like the “Unity House” at area 11 Garki Abuja sold to Redeem Christian Church of God hitherto.
The Governor also fraudulently indicated an intention to relocate the Imo State University to his hometown in Ogboko Ideato SouthL.G.A Imo State. Surprosingly without presenting any bill to that effect to the Imo State House of Assembly for an authorizinf Legislation, he quickly mobilized resources of Imo L.G.A. As coming through the Statutory Allocation and illegally expended over N5 billion Naira in erecting new structures at the proposed site. The Governor has cancelled the plan to relocate the University while the huge development therein are selfishly appropriated for his benefit as a new private university. The attempt to get an authorizing legislation albeit retroactively is presently on in the Imo State House of Assembly. See the attached publication by the Imo Patriots.
It is sad that this large scale misappropriation of Imo state local government statutory allocation by the governor and his cohorts has functionally collapsed the cherished constitutional third tier structure with an indefinite staff in iMo state who he colludes with to make fictitious documents to cover the crime.
We attach for your ease of reference the under listed documents to wit:
(1) The Court of Appeal Judgment of 5th July 2012.
(2) Distribution of Statutory Allocation to Imo State Local Government councils by FAAC in May 2011 – June 2012.
(3) Lit of TCS (Transition Committee Chairmen) of Local Government Councils who shamelessly acquiesced to being used to siphon Local Government funds.
(4) Publication by Imo patriots
We count on your speedy response.
The undersigned Executive Chairmen of Local Government Councils in Imo State.
NAME LOCAL GOVERNMENT
- Nze Onwunali Charles N. Aboh Mbaise
- Chief Bob D. O. Ugwuibe Ahiazu Mbaise
- Chief Nnorom IK Ehime Mbano
- Dr. Nzenwa Bede Ezinihitte
- Chief Bona Chude Mbonu Ideato North
- Chief Nwanaforo Kelvin Ideato South
- Hon. Awulonu Ikechukwu Ihitte Uboma
- Chief Sam Aka Ikeduru
- Chief Mrs. Ruby Emele Isiala Mbano
- Hon. Sir B. Nwadike Isu
- Chief Onyema Nwachukwu Mbaitoli
- Barr. Enyinna Onuegbu Ngor-Okpala
- Chief Eddy Ikwubuo Njaba
- Chief Victor Nnadiekwe Nkwerre
- Chief Ezekiel Chukwukere Nwangele
- Chief Basil Ekweke Obowo
- Princess Edugie Joan Nzeribe Oguta
- Chief C. E. C. Ikegwuruka Ohaji/Egbema
- Chief Charles B. Ezekwem Okigwe
- Barr. Nkiru Ibekwe Onuimo
- Barr. Obioha Edward Orlu
- Barr. F. M. Nnadi Orsu
- Barr. Ezeukwu Fisher Ezeugo Oru East
- Chief John Frank Ugaliegbulem Oru West
- Chief Emma Odor Owerri Municipal
- Dr. Eric Ogwo Owerri North
- Hon. Elezianya Ikenna Owerri West
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