FROM EMMANUEL UZOR, ABAKALIKI
Former local government chairmen who served in the former Governor Martin Elechi administration in Ebonyi State are jittery as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC begins probe of the past financial dealings in their various council areas.
Though Governor Dave Umahi recently made it known that his administration will not witch-hunt past government led by Elechi, it was gathered that some of the past local government chairmen who defected to Labour Party (LP) at the end of Elechi’s tenure have been invited by the anti graft agency for gross financial misappropriation.
It was gathered that there was panic when the EFCC sent invitation letters to the 13 former council chairmen, and some of them were seen making photocopies of some documents, suspected to be connected with financial dealings.
EFCC source who spoke to our reporter on the condition of anonymity disclosed that the invitation was in line with the agency’s policy of
inviting those suspected to have embezzled public funds for interrogation, adding that after the invitation and interrogation, the Agency will take further steps.
“Yes, there was invitation to the past local government chairmen in Ebonyi State, but all I can tell you is that it is just an invitation for questioning which has to do with some allegations levelled against them about how money belonging to the councils were
diverted to private pockets. I want to assure you that as anti graft agency, our duty is to interrogate these former chairmen after which we could take further action, including arrest and prosecution,” said the source.
The source further disclosed that there were petitions against corruption in the local government system.
“We received petitions from various quarters but the agency was baffled with some of the former council chairmen opening some amorphous bank accounts like Ebola account, Immunisation account, JAC account and many other bank accounts where millions of naira were deposited and withdrawn without due process. We have it also on a good authority that the former administration through the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy matters deducted hundreds of millions monthly from the council allocations in the name of Joint Account, JAC which were never accounted for.”