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Abia lawmakers probe management of Paris Club refunds

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Ikpeazu

Members of the Abia State House of Assembly, yesterday, set up an Ad-hoc Committee to investigate alleged infractions in the release and management of the Paris Club refunds to the state government.

This followed a petition filed before the state House of Assembly by a law firm bordering on the engagement of two consulting firms for the release and management of the Paris Club refunds.

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The decision to investigate the petition was taken after a representative of Isiukwuato Constituency, Emeka Okoroafor, read the petition by Ndukwe Iheanyi & Co law firm.

It stressed the urgent need of the allegation, which the Speaker, Hon. Chinedum Orji to be investigated, describing it as too weighty to be ignored.

The petitioner alleged that a former commissioner for finance in the state, Obinna Oriaku, explained his involvement in the transactions on social media platforms and complicated the matter.

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It maintained that Oriaku complicated the matter by raising issues that the consultants, who were engaged to facilitate the release of the Paris Club refunds disagreed over the authentic firm engaged by the state government.

Consequently, the law firm urged the state House of Assembly to investigate and ascertain the validity or otherwise of the allegations Oriaku raised including finding out the terms on which the consultants were engaged and how much they were paid for their services from 2011-2014, being the period in contention.

Reacting to the development, Oriaku, who is now a chieftain of the All Progressives Party (APC) in the state, asserted that Governor Okezie Ikpeazu administration judiciously utilised the Paris Club refunds due to the state.

“The funds were judiciously used. When the funds were received, we were about the only state that decided to use the money for salaries, while most states used theirs for paying contractors and settled overhead payments, among others,” he said.

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