Following revelations by a former Commissioner for Finance in Abia State, Mr Obinna Oriaku, a group of technocrats, professionals and businessmen under the aegis of the Abia Freedom Alliance, has demanded detailed explanation from Governor Okezie Ikpeazu on how the state government utilised its share of the Paris Club funds’ refund.
Oriaku was in charge of the finances of the state when N22bn, a substantial part of the Paris Club refund was made to Abia State.
In the statement jointly signed by Prince Uzor Nwachukwu, Chief Joe Ezearu, Chief Allen Wogu, Bishop Bernard Nwaogu and Dr Jude Ohuche, the group wondered why the governor and his aides would resort to insulting Abians, who merely demanded explanations on how the funds were utilised, especially Dr Alex Otti.
The statement read in part, “The Abia Freedom Alliance notes with regret the distasteful response by the Abia State Governor, Victor Okezie Ikpeazu, and indeed the government of Abia State, to a well thought out statement issued by a prominent citizen of the state in the person of Dr Alex Otti, on the government’s mismanagement of the Paris Club refund to the state, totalling N30.2bn.
“From the accounts rendered and evidence produced, all of which are in the public space, by Governor Ikpeazu’s former Commissioner for Finance, Mr Obinna Oriaku, we understand that former governor Theodore Orji’s government received the sum of N8.2bn of the Paris Club refund during his tenure, while Ikpeazu received N22bn.”
The group added, “The implication of the Abia State Government engaging two consultants is that the state will be paying out 50 per cent consultancy on N22bn, an outrageous N11bn for doing nothing, especially when the process had already begun. The disturbing part is that other states affected by the Paris Club refund, according to reports, paid between 2.5 and three per cent for the same service and none engaged more than one consultant.
“Even more disturbing is the fact that Governor Ikpeazu maintained a conspiratorial silence on the 50 per cent consultancy fees, six years into his tenure.”