Okorocha faces fresh hurdles over alleged N6b fraud

Okorocha faces fresh hurdles over alleged N6b fraud

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A former governor of Imo State, Mr Rochas Okorocha, is facing a fresh hurdles over N6b funds allocated to the state’s Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (ISOPADEC).

SENATOR ROCHAS OKOROCHA

The Committee which was set up to investigate ISOPADEC’s activities from May 2011 to May 2019, indicted him of complicity in connection with the scam.

At the presentation of the report at Government House, Owerri yesterday, the Committee Chairman, Romanus Ezeogwu, disclosed this while presenting its report to Governor Emeka Ihedioha.

He said, “It is painful to note that citizens and some Managing Directors colluded with Okorocha to misappropriate ISOPADEC’s funds with impunity.

“Okorocha’s administration handled the funds during his eight years tenure with recklessness. The shortfall in revenue that accrued from the Federation Account uncounted for stood at N6, 044, 774, 341. 37.”

The panel also alleged that Okorocha arbitrarily released part of ISOPADEC funds to purchase vehicles and transformers for campaigns and diverted over N311b that accrued to the commission from bailout fund, Paris Club refund, Local Governments joint labour salary/pension, and Secondary Education Management Board Account, among others.

It said in spite of the huge funds that accrued to the Commission, “its wage bill stood at N93.6m as at May 2019.

“The issue here begs for explanation on what happened to the original 40 per cent monthly derivation fund allocated to ISOPADEC and Okorocha should be held responsible for the missing funds.

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The Committee also indicted Chike Okafor and Paschal Obi, who represent Okigwe South and Ideato South at the House of Representatives for their involvement in the misappropriation of ISOPADEC funds.

Before they were elected into the House of Representatives, according to The Guardian, they were Commissioner for Finance and Principal Secretary to the governor respectively.

Ezeogu said, “At various times, Okafor hijacked the financial autonomy of the commission as Finance Commissioner. Besides, Obi, should explain what he did with the N35m advanced to him as seen in the vouchers submitted to the panel.”

The State governor, Mr Emeka Ihedioha in a brief remark, appreciated the panel for its effort and promised to look into the report with a view to passing a white paper on it.

He restated his administration’s commitment to due process, accountability and transparency.

But, Mr Sam Onwuemeodo, Media Aide to the embattled Senator Rochas Okorocha, Aide in a swift response to the development, Okorocha dismissed the allegations, saying they did not make any sense to him.

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