By Jerry Needam, Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, To The State PDP Chairman.
The Chairman, Rivers State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Bro Felix Obuah says he received with contentment the judgment by the Court of Appeal in Port Harcourt, upholding the legality of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry set up by the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, to probe the unlawful sale of Valued Assets and looting of Rivers treasury by former Gov Rotimi Amaechi.
The PDP Chairman, while commending the Honourable Justices of the Court of Appeal who presided over suit number CA/PH/342/2015, and delivered the unanimous judgment, dismissing the appeal filed by the former Governor (Amaechi), challenging the constitution of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry, in other words trying to evade justice, so as not to be accountable to the people after leaving office.
Bro Obuah said it would have amounted to gross injustice and subversion of Rivers peoples’ right if Rotimi Amaechi was allowed to go without being probed after the huge looting, misappropriation of public funds and reckless sale of valued State assets by his administration.
The PDP Chairman noted that after thorough inquiry, the Commission made some recommendations after finding the former governor (Amaechi) culpable to the allegations made against him and his administration regarding the looting of the State.
Calling for his immediate sack by the federal government and prosecution by the Rivers State Government following the startling revelations by the Commission, Bro. Obuah explained that the recklessness and financial waste that characterized the Amaechi administration in the State is such that must not be left uninvestigated.
These, he said include the sale of the Omoku 150 Mega Watts Gas Turbine; Afam 360 Mega Watts Turbine; Trans-Amadi 136 MW Gas Turbine; and Eleme 75MW Gas Turbine; the sale of Olympia Hotel; the waste of funds on the construction of the Mono-rail project; the failed construction of Justice Adolphus Karibi-Whyte Specialist Hospital; the disbursement of N2b under the Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme; the accrued sum total of money from the mandatory monthly contribution of N1bn by the Rivers State Government into the Rivers State Reserved Fund, and many others.
He further noted that some of the recommendations of the Commission which the former Governor must act fast to comply with include:
(1) the refund of N4,633,440,000 illegally paid to CLINOTEC under the failed Public Private Partnership;
(2) that in respect of the thirty-eight (38) unregistered co-operative societies that benefited from the agricultural grants, the former Rivers State Commissioner for Agriculture, Hon. Emmanuel Chinda, who compiled the list of the benefitting cooperative societies, should be made to refund all grants so disbursed and should also be prosecuted for defrauding the government and people of Rivers State. The Permanent Secretary and all members of the Disbursement Committee should be made to face disciplinary action for not following the guidelines of the Loan before recommending disbursement to the Co-operatives.
(3) That the former Governor of Rivers State, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, who gave approval for the disbursement of the sum of N3 billion obtained under the agricultural loan scheme without regard to the guidelines issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria should be held to account for the diversion of the agricultural loan for purposes other than the development of agriculture and agro-allied activities in Rivers State.
(4) That Considering the illegality surrounding the withdrawals, including the N53, 936, 000,000.00 between February 2014 and January 2015, and N30bn on 13/2/2014, former Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi should be held to account for the withdrawals and default thereof, the Office of the Honourable Attorney- General should take appropriate legal steps to recover the sums of money withdrawn from the fund.
(5) That the former Secretary to the Rivers State Government, Mr. George Feyii, should be made to refund the following sums:
(a) N4 billion (Four Billion Naira) unlawfully withdrawn from the Rivers State Reserve Fund on the 20th of February, 2014 for the purpose of “settlement of various outstanding obligations relating to security issues in SSG’s Office”.
(b) N400, 000, 000.00 (Four Hundred Million Naira) unlawfully withdrawn from the Rivers State Reserve Fund on the 21st of March 2014 for the purpose of staff armored vehicles”.
(c) N117,000,000.00 (One Hundred and Seventeen Million Naira
withdrawn from the Rivers State Reserve Fund on the 25th day of March 2014 for “revalidation and renewal of lease on the property at F29 Sani-Abacha Road GRA Phase II, Port Harcourt”.
(d) N447,200,000.00 (Four Hundred and Forty-Seven Million, Two Hundred Thousand Naira) withdrawn from the Rivers State Reserve Fund “for payment of 2012 and 2013 Premier League Session Sign-On Fees for (3) three Football Clubs in Rivers State”.
(iii) Similarly, the owners of Orosi House at No. 28 Forces Avenue Old GRA, Port Harcourt should refund to the Government of Rivers State the sum N300,000,000.00 (Three Hundred Million Naira) which they received from Government of Rivers State as five years rent for the lease of the complex SUBEB- Ministry of Education Office) knowing full well that the property been destroyed by fire in 2007 .
(iv) That the Principal Officers of the Rivers State House of Assembly at the said time, who facilitated the adoption of the House Resolution on 13/2/21 authorizing the former Governor of Rivers State to withdraw the sum of billion as afore-stated should be prosecuted for authorizing the illegal withdrawal from the fund.
The PDP Chairman expressed optimism that doing justice to the above recommendations by a legitimate Commission will go a long way in making Rivers people happy again and also enhance the Rivers State government ability in carrying out more development projects across the 23 LGAs.
“We demand justice in this matter and we would pursue it to the end”, Obuah said.