EFCC quizzes council chairmen over alleged N3.5b diversion
No fewer than four out of the 13 council caretaker chairmen in Ebonyi State were yesterday grilled for several hours by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Enugu zonal office.
The commission is said to be investigating a petition alleging diversion and misappropriation of over N3.5billion, being part of the monthly allocations that accrued to the 13 councils in the state from the federal government.
Three of them honoured the invitation yesterday, while another batch of four is expected to appear before the commission today to answer questions relating to the missing funds.
A reliable source in the commission, who pleaded anonymity, said the zonal office had received a petition from an indigene of the state, alleging diversion of the local government allocations by the state government through the Joint Accounts Committee (JAC) office in Abakaliki, the state capital.
The source said the petitioner alleged non-payment of allocations into the various council bank accounts by the JAC committee, totaling over N3.5billion, while the chairmen were allegedly ‘forced’ to sign as having received and spent the said funds for their various offices.
One of them was said to have informed her supporters shortly before their departure to the JAC office in Abakaliki, from where they took off to Enugu, that she would be bold to respond as much as she has knowledge of the issues.
Commissioner for Local Government, Chieftaincy Matters and Rural Development, Mr. Samuel Okoronkwo, when contacted via telephone, denied knowledge of the invitation.
Pressed further if he was aware of the invitation, Okoronkwo said: “I don’t know what you are talking about. I am not even in my office…” before dropping the call.
Efforts to get the official reaction of the Commission’s spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, was not successful at the time of filing this report, as he was yet to respond to several calls and text message sent to his phone.