EBONYI EX-LG CHAIRMEN PANIC AS EFCC BEGINS PROBE

FROM EMMANUEL UZOR, ABAKALIKI

UMAHI
                                                UMAHI

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account, Immuni­sation account, JAC account and many other bank ac­counts where millions of naira were deposited and withdrawn without due pro­cess.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.”

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