Rivers PDP calls for prosecution of former State lawmakers
The Peoples Democratic Party has called for the prosecution of principal officers of the Rivers State House of Assembly who approved the withdrawal of N53.9 billion from the State reserve fund by the immediate past administration of Governor Chibuike Amaechi.
PDP chairman in the State, Felix Obuah said the judgment by the Court of Appeal in Port Harcourt, upholding the legality of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry set up by Governor, Nyesom Wike, to probe the unlawful sale of Valued Assets and withdrawal of States makes it imperative for the legislative officials to be prosecuted.
Obuah observed that considering the illegality surrounding the withdrawals of N53, 936, 000,000.00 between February 2014 and January 2015 from the reserve fund, the former Governor Chibuike Amaechi and the principal legislative officials should be held to account for the withdrawals.
"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" he said.
He urged the office of the Attorney- General of the State to take appropriate legal steps to recover the sums of money withdrawn from the fund. According to him: "We demand justice in this matter and we would pursue it to the end".
The PDP Chairman commended the 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 Amaechi, challenging the constitution of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry.
Obuah accused the former governor of trying to evade justice, so as not to be accountable to the people after leaving office. He stressed that it would have amounted to gross injustice and subversion of Rivers peoples' right if Amaechi was allowed to go without being probed after the reckless sale of valued State assets by his administration.
He argued that the sales of valued assets such as 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 required to be probed.
The PDP chairman appealed to Governor Wike to expeditiously implement the recommendations of the judicial commission of inquiry like the demand for the refund of N4,633,440,000 illegally paid to CLINOTEC under the failed Public Private Partnership;
Other money which he urged Wike to recover based on the recommendation of the commission, is the sum of N2 billion Central Bank of Nigeria agriculature scheme that was disbursed to thirty-eight (38) unregistered co-operative societies . according to him, those involved in the disbursement 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"
He said former governor who gave approval for the disbursement of the sum of money 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.