Ecological Fund: Chime, Others May Account For N2bn
AS the Economic and Financial crimes Commission (EFCC) beams its searchlight on the activities of former Governor Sullivan Chime, there are indications that he and three other members of his cabinet may be called upon to account for N2bn.
The sum, which is part of the first tranche of N4bn owed the state, as part of its share of an ecological fund, was said to have developed wings after its release to the government.
At the moment, no less than three petitions alleging massive graft and fund diversions, including those from former Peoples Democratic Party auditor, Mr. Raymond Nnaji; Save Enugu Group; and one Ken Eneh, are awaiting investigations by the anti-graft agency.
Though the former Chief of Staff, Government House, under the Chime administration, Mrs. Ifeoma Nwobodo, and the former Managing Director of the State Housing Corporation and PDP Chairman, Mr. Ikeje Asogwa, are currently undergoing interrogation at the EFCC headquarters in Abuja, there is no indication that their brief includes the contentious ecological fund disappearance.
An operative in the EFCC, however, confided in The Guardian that investigation into allegations of massive looting and diversion of public fund in Enugu will take place in stages, pointing out that the commission may be forced to locate choice property and investment in some neighbouring countries including Cameroun, Ghana, South Africa and United Arab Emirates.
The source disclosed a pattern of laundering public fund through real estate deals, stressing that 11 members of the immediate past administration may be invited to disclose the source of fund for the construction of residential and commercial buildings in Enugu, notably at the former Zoological Gardens, New Haven Extension, old GRA and environs.
“There is also the use of fronts and relations in the illegal acquisition of some of these property and investments. With the help of new technology, we are surely going to unmask the widespread graft that took place there in the recent past,” he stated.
He declined comment on plans to use the former Chief of Staff as prosecution witness, pointing out that the Commission was being careful in such methods, so as not to create escape routes for major characters.
When contacted for comments, the EFCC spokesman, Wilson Ewuajeren, said he was in the thick of serious meeting, enjoining the reporter to call back, even as former Governor Chime did not respond to SMS sent to two of his mobile phones for talk on what transpired during his administration, at the time of filing this report.
Efforts by incumbent Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi to stave off investigations of his predecessor, so as not to distract his administration, seems fruitless, as many of the petitioners and those yet to approach the EFCC insist on “recovering the patrimony of Enugu State”.