The race for who will pick the ticket of the PDP for the Ebonyi State governorship election left in its trail clashes, intrigue, suspense and confusion of a worrying dimension. But more than two months after the elections, the game seems not over yet.
The newly inaugurated State House of Assembly has indicted 12 of the 13 Local Government Caretaker Committee Chairmen. They are being accused of misappropriating state funds.
These Chairmen were loyal to the then embattles state governor, Dr. Martin Elechi who lost out in the intense power play that preceded the elections.
A committee was set up by the past assembly which indicted the Council Chairmen for offences they allegedly committed in office between November 2014 and June 2015.
Chairman of the investigative committee and current deputy speaker of the assembly, Obasi Odefa while presenting the report to the lawmakers said that the council chairmen engaged in irregular spending that were not backed by any existing rule. For example,
Mr. Odefa noted that some of their expenditures had funny titles such as immunization costs, breatfeeding expenses and so on.
“The caretaker chairmen, treasurers, cashiers and Heads of Department of works connived to illegally withdraw money from the councils’ accounts and siphoned them into private accounts.
“The caretaker chairmen withdrew funds from the councils’ stabilization accounts in connivance with the Chairman and Secretary of the Joint Accounts Committee.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Assembly resolved that the indicted Council Chairmen will refund the monies as follows
the former Caretaker Chairman of Izzi LGA, Mr Godwin Nwogbaga, should refund N95m.
Nwogbaga, alongside the Head of Department, Works Department and Treasurer of the council, were also asked to jointly refund N217m.
Similarly, the Chairman of Ohaukwu LGA, Mrs Chinyere Elom, was asked to refund N53m while the council’s HOD for Works should refund seven million.
Nwifuru also announced that the former caretaker Chairman Ezza North LGA, Mr Jeff Ogbu, should refund N97 million while the treasurer of the council would refund N6m and in addition, be dismissed from service.
“The Chairman of Onicha LGA should refund N158m and return the 60KVA generator which she allegedly carted away while the council’s HOD for works should refund N61m.
“The Chairman of Ezza South LGA, Mr Edwin Oke, is to refund N115m being fund he could not explain how it was utilised while the council’s HOD works should be dismissed,”
The former Chairman of Ivo LGA, Joseph Obasi was not indicted of any financial mismanagement. But the committee recommended that he be relieved of his duty for failing to guide his officials accordingly.