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Ebonyi local government officials stole millions – Report

The Ebonyi State House of Assembly on Thursday indicted 12 of the 13 Local Government Caretaker Committee Chairpersons for financial misappropriation.

The immediate past assembly had set up a committee to probe the financial dealings of the chairpersons between November 2014 and June 2015 when they all resigned their appointments.

The indictment was contained in committee’s report submitted to the state assembly and read by its Chairperson, Obasi Odefa, who is also the Deputy Speaker of the assembly.

According to the report, the ex-chairpersons embezzled the state’s funds during the period under review.

It noted that some of their expenditures had phony titles such as immunisation costs, breastfeeding expenses, security expenses and solidarity rally for former President Goodluck Jonathan, among others.

“The caretaker chairmen, treasurers, cashiers and Heads of Department (HOD) of works connived to illegally withdraw money from the councils’ accounts and siphoned them into private accounts.

“The caretaker chairmen withdrew funds from the councils’ stabilization accounts in connivance with the Chairman and Secretary of the Joint Accounts Committee (JAC).

“This is in contravention of Section.12 of the Ebonyi Revenue Distribution to Local Government and Development Centres Law 2006,” the report said.

The Speaker of the House, Francis Nwifuru, read the resolutions of the assembly after it had adopted the committee’s report.

The assembly resolved that the former Caretaker Chairman of Izzi LGA, Godwin Nwogbaga, refund N95 million.

Mr. Nwogbaga, alongside the Head of Department (HOD), Works Department and Treasurer of the council, were also asked to jointly refund N217million.

Similarly, the Chairperson of Ohaukwu LGA, Chinyere Elom, was asked to refund N53 million while the council’s HOD for Works should refund seven million.

Mr. Nwifuru also announced that the former caretaker Chairman Ezza North LGA, Jeff Ogbu, should refund N97 million while the treasurer of the council would refund N6 million and in addition, be dismissed from service.

“The Chairman of Onicha LGA should refund N158million and return the 60KVA generator which she allegedly carted away while the council’s HOD for works should refund N61 million.

“The Chairman of Ezza South LGA, Mr Edwin Oke, is to refund N115 million being fund he could not explain how it was utilised while the council’s HOD works should be dismissed,” Mr. Nwifuru said.

The speaker further announced that the committee did not indict the former Chairman of IVO LGA, Joseph Obasi, of any financial misappropriation but recommended that he be relieved of his duty for not being able to guide his officials accordingly.

“The House clerk should present a memo to the governor, urging him to relieve all those indicted in the report immediately from their duties and prosecute them,” he said.

Resolutions concerning other former council caretaker chairpersons were also read.

The report also indicted the immediate past commissioner for local government and the permanent secretary in the ministry, among other council officials.


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