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Salaries, pensions payment on hold as EFCC, ICPC swoop on Imo accounts

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Current Imo state governor, Gov Rochas Okorocha. Photo credit: Twitter

Payment of salary and pension arrears are being delayed in Imo State, as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corruption Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) swooped on some of the state’s financial accounts.

This followed series of petitions on alleged illegal financial transactions by the outgoing administration of Governor Rochas Okorocha.

Confirming the development in Owerri yesterday, Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mark Uchendu, said it was usual for opposition party to query the financial status of an outgoing administration, especially during a transition period.

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He disclosed that the development has resulted in inability to pay salaries and pensions arrears, as well as offset other financial transactions in the state.

“Naturally, because there is transition, a lot of petitions have been sent to the ICPC, EFCC and banks. Some people even went to court.

“Yes, few of the state’s accounts, which are major and very vital for salary payment and others, are not free for us now by virtue of petitions from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and others.

“You know when these petitions get to the agencies and they think they are correct, they will start pushing instructions on such accounts. That is our major handicap.

“But those petitions are false and baseless. We have also written to the EFCC, telling them of the dangers of putting the state in a precarious situation, if salaries are not paid,” Uchendu stated.

But in a swift reaction, Chairman of organised labour in the state, Austin Chilakpo, said workers would not be cowed by government’s excuses over their unpaid salaries and pensions.

He said labour gave the state till the end of this week to sort out the issues and clear all arrears or they would be forced to take appropriate action.

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Also, the State Caretaker Committee Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Enyinna Onuegbu, said the state government should tell the truth on why it has not paid salaries and stop playing to the gallery.

Imo State governor-elect, Emeka Ihedioha, through a statement by his Media Aide, Chibuike Onyeukwu, had earlier cautioned banks in the state to stop new transactions with the state government or continue to do so at their own risk.

Meanwhile, EFCC’s Ilorin Zonal Office has arrested a lawyer, Akeem Jimoh, for involvement in an alleged scam on plots of land belonging to his client, one Alhaji Saka Kareem Oladele, amounting to N7million.

Oladele had, in his petition to the EFCC, alleged that he gave power of attorney to Jimoh to sell his 35 plots of land, out of which he sold 20 plots to one Michael Jolaiya.

Oladele said Jimoh after deducting his commissions on the 20 plots, however, refused to remit the money from the sales to him, adding that having prepared agreement for the 20 plots, Jimoh resold the plots of land to another buyer who had started building on them, including the 15 unsold plots.

The suspect will soon be arraigned in court.


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