Ebonyi Assembly Moves To Impeach Elechi
THE Ebonyi State House of Assembly during plenary Friday served impeachment notice on the state governor, Martin Elechi, over what it described as gross misconduct and misappropriation of public funds.
In an eight-point allegation signed by 15 lawmakers that was read on the
floor of the house by the Acting Leader, Ogbonnaya Nwifuru, the House alleged that the governor committed several acts of gross misconduct, which are convincingly in clear violation of the Constitution, in the performance of his function as governor of Ebonyi State.
On the first allegation the House alleged that the governor breached Sections 7 and 8 of the Ebonyi State Local Government Council and Development Centres (amendment) law No. 007 of 2007 by inaugurating 28 persons as Coordinators of Development Centres without prior screening and confirmation of each of the appointment by a simple majority of the House of Assembly.
In the second allegation the House alleged that the governor breached Section 7 of the constitution and without reference to the Ebonyi House of Assembly, inaugurated a caretaker chairman for each of the 13 Local Councils of Ebonyi State.
The House in the third allegation noted that the governor further violated section 197 of the constitution, Ebonyi State Local Government Law and the Universal Basic Education Act 2004 by appointing chairmen and members of the state Independent Electoral Commission, Local Government Service Commission, Secondary Education Board, Universal Basic Education Board
and others without the confirmation by the state house of assembly.
The impeachment notice, The Guardian gathered, was not a huge surprise in the state following the lingering rift between Elechi and the state legislators.
The house also accused the governor of obtaining a N3 billion loan in August 2014 from First Bank of Nigeria Plc, repayable within 11 months and to be offset in May this year on behalf of the state government without obtaining the necessary consent of the lawmakers.
Another allegation was that the state government spent N 6,617,000 in incorporating the Ebonyi Oil and Gas Development Company Ltd with 200,000,000 ordinary shares in 2013 and allegedly allocated 100, 000, 000 controlling shares to Edon (Nig) Ltd, represented by Edward Nkwegu; 25, 000, 000 shares to Elechi’s son, Nnanna; 25, 000, 000 shares to Best Southern Global and “surprisingly giving the financier, which is the state government, a minority shareholding of 50, 000, 000.”.
The lawmakers were also irked that the EDON contractor abandoned the Ebonyi International Trade Center, which Elechi had allegedly approved its over-inflation to N2, 475, 114, 9998.50 and the sum of N790, 221,833.25 was paid to Edon and notwithstanding the purported abandonment, Elechi went ahead to award the construction of the International Market to Edon at a whopping sum of N3, 676,942,825.70.
According to them, the governor also allegedly approved the increase of the contract sum by an additional sum of N39, 204, 44.00, yet “the contract remains abysmally performed and is far from completion”, which its completion date was fixed for October 2013.
The other allegation was that the state government allegedly spent several millions of naira carrying out exploratory core drilling aimed at ascertaining the quality and quantity of limestone suitable for cement production and 175, 000, 000 controlling shares were allocated to Edon; one Chief Linus Nwamba got 25, 000, 000 shares while the financier, the state government, got the minority shareholding of 50,000, 000 and “neither Edon or Nwamba paid for their shares and yet were directors thereof.
Moving his motion, lawmaker Obasi Odefa said that Elechi should be served the impeachment notice on grounds of gross misconduct through publication in any national dailies, local tabloids, announcement in radio and television including reporting of proceedings through courier services, through Elechi’s office or pasting the notice at any public notice board in any of the ministries.
Odefa contended that any of the above means could validate the constitutional requirements to serve the governor.
The motion was seconded by Frank Onwe, lawmaker representing Ohaukwu North.
The Speaker of the House of Assembly, Chukwuma Nwazunku, further adopted and announced that he would serve the governor through any of the means and it shall stand that the governor has been duly served. It will be recalled that the House had set up a 14- member committee to look into a petition brought by Clement Odaah accusing Elechi of gross economic and financial irregularities, in which the governor allegedly acted with “unscrupulous private individuals and corrupt elements within the
government” in the case of Ebonyi Cement Company Limited, where the directors of the company were the state Ministry of Finance, one Chief Linus Nwamba and one Edward Nkwegu, representing EDON Nigeria Ltd.
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