We froze N5bn Imo funds because Okorocha was spending too much during elections – EFCC

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has given more details into its probe of the Imo state government. The anti-graft body says it froze N5billion funds belonging to the state government because Governor Rochas Okorocha was spending too much money during the 2019 general elections.

The EFCC further revealed that the N8billion Paris Club loan refunded to the state for the payment of salaries was mismanaged by the governor. This was revealed by EFCC’s zonal head for south-east region, Usman Imam, during a chat with journalists. According to him, the commission’s timely intervention saved the state over N5billion that would have been deployed in vote buying by the Okorocha’s administration during the polls.

The EFCC zonal head said about N8billion from the Paris Club Refund bailout meant for payment of workers’ salaries was kept by the government, only to begin spending it frivolously on the eve of the elections.

“What we discovered was that within two days, N700m was withdrawn in cash; N200m on the first day and N500m on the second day and all these monies were disbursed in a manner that was honestly unpalatable.

“Distribution to school teachers; I don’t know, schools that you were not funding and you woke up on the eve of the election and withdrew N500million cash and start distributing N1000 each or so to teachers. Whatever that means, I don’t know.

“When we came in, we were able to save about seventy something million of the funds that we discovered were not disbursed, we also blocked it. People are still answering questions as to who asked them to move those monies, monies that were blocked at the banks.” EFCC Zonal head explained.

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He expressed optimism that the Imo governor-elect, Emeka Ihedioha, would put the funds to better use when he assumes office.

He said: “These monies were the intervention funds; the bailout funds that the federal government released to states to pay salaries when they were having problems paying salaries. “They didn’t utilise that money to pay the salaries; they warehoused it and kept it until the election period, they started attempting to draw down the money. Whatever happens, we have saved over N5billion of that money, as we talk, two weeks to handover. “Probably, the next government would have that money to use it better. There are a lot of other general investigations going on in Imo right now.”

Meanwhile, Okorocha has accused All Progressives Congress (APC) national chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole of witch-hunting him after he ensured his emergence as national chairman of the APC. Okorocha who is at loggerheads with the national leadership of the APC, accused Oshiomhole of plotting to bring him down. “There is nothing personal between me and Adams Oshiomhole other than the fact that he is part and parcel of this high level of conspiracy to bring down Rochas politically. “What is painful is that Adam Oshiomhole that I literally put into this position,” Okorocha said at a news conference in Abuja.

About Emmanuel Ebimoh 461 Articles
Emmanuel Ebimoh is a Writer, Poet, Editor, and Football Enthusiast. He writes from Lagos, Nigeria. You can reach him on emmyebimoh@gmail.com

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