Alleged misappropriation of funds: Otti labels Ikpeazu’s response ‘Uncouth’
The former gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) in Abia State, Dr. Alex Otti has described as uncouth, the response of Abia State government over his allegation that the states resources are being frittered away.
Otti had on August 16, 2017, at a press conference, raised issues over the management of funds accruing to the state since 2015 and also objected to the recent approval of a loan of $200m for the State Government by the National Assembly.
But the governor, in a statement, accused Otti of being mischievous and charged him to publicly encourage the auditors of Diamond Bank Plc to publish detailed audit reports of the bank covering the period that he served as MD and the year after.
Otti insisted that the National Assembly approved $200m loan to Abia State Government, but argued that the documents he sighted showed that the National Assembly might have been misled into approving a loan that is different from the one recommended by the president.
“In my last press conference, I had indicated that on May 25, 2017 a Presidential request for $100 million regarding Abia State Rural Access and Mobility Project (RAMP) was sent to the National Assembly, however, on July 18, 2017 the Minister of Finance sent a request for $200 million to the National Assembly in respect of Abia State Integrated Infrastructure Development Project (ASIIDP) which curiously, is exactly the same request that Abia State Government submitted, dated October 2015,” he alleged.
He therefore charged the governor to explain how Abia State RAMP became ASIIDP and how $100 million transform to $200 million, adding that the information from the office of the Accountant General of the Federation on fund accrued to the state indicates that the Governor has received several funds from May 2015 till date, totalling N120 billion.
“You also borrowed N10b from an old generation bank and received the following funds: bail out funds N14.105b, first tranche of Paris Club refund N10.6b, second tranche of Paris Club refund N5.7b. By your own admission, you collect N1billion monthly on internally generated revenue.
“You will agree with me that these are huge sums of money. I do know that it costs money to run government and part of government expenditure goes to payment of salaries but I do not think it is too much to ask, if a citizen demands to know how these funds were utilized.”
Otti advised governor Okezie Ikpeazu to come clean and let citizens know why salaries are not being paid in spite of all the funds received by the state.“It is no use making claims that are not true like the ones made in your responses to me to the effect that you have paid all outstanding salary arrears. Those who are owed are there in the state and I consider it a great disservice to them and the state when their governor makes untruthful claims about salary payments.”
On the claims of commissioning 26 roads and constructing 65 others, Otti said, “I will advise that you give Abia people real roads. All those roads built and commissioned by propaganda on the state radio and sponsored social media platforms can only remain a mirage, when many parts of Aba and Umuahia remain in ruins and impassable” he said.
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