Wike’s probe ill-conceived, say Amaechi, Rivers APC
THE Justice George Omereji-led Judicial Commission of Inquiry raised by Governor Nyesom Wike to probe his predecessor, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, which begins sitting today is ill-motivated, the latter said yesterday.
Also, the state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has labelled the move a ‘political witch-hunt’ aimed at thwarting the possible appointment of the former governor as a member of the federal cabinet.
The seven-man panel, which got the nod to begin work after a Port Harcourt High Court presided over by Justice Simeon Amadi last Thursday dismissed Amaechi’s suit to halt the probe of his administration, had already invited the former Commissioner of Agiculture, Emma Chinda, to appear before it today to explain how he disbursed a N4 billion agriculture loan to farmers in the state.
Amaechi said the probe was designed to twist and distort, or even completely alter selected legitimate government transactions in Wike’s alleged desperation to cook up and fabricate sham cases of corruption against him.
Amaechi who governed Rivers State between 2007 and 2015, during which Wike once served as his chief of staff, stated that the probe commission shall not achieve anything beyond political excitement, entertainment and theatrics.
The former said in a statement yesterday that he would continue to use every constitutional and legal means available to protect his name and image from “this massive smear campaign, state-sponsored onslaught” against him by Wike’s government whose sole agenda was a “desperate search for a Rotimi Amaechi political downfall.”
He emphasized that he was not afraid of a fair and decent probe of his administration and would cooperate and support it in as much as it was done within the ambit of our laws.
He said: “This means Wike, with his prejudiced, made up mind has taken a position of a guilty verdict even before the outcome is known or established.
The same Wike who had adjudged the yet-to-be-investigated conduct of Amaechi as illegal and Amaechi as corrupt, is the same person that has gone ahead to set up a commission of inquiry and will have the final say on the findings of the commission.
What a sham! “This bias and predetermined agenda to indict Amaechi is obvious even in the terms of reference of the commission.
In one of the defective terms of reference, Wike said the Commission should investigate the circumstances that led to the ‘sale of the state Hotel Olympia’.
With a fair and decent probe, the Inquiry should have been ‘to examine (or investigate) the transaction concerning Hotel Olympia’.
The difference is so clear: In the former, jaundiced Wike’s Term of Reference, it has been prejudiced and concluded that the hotel was sold, while in the latter, the Inquiry is open and fair, and may lead to a finding of a sale or a lease or even a gift or even a pledge.
Now, having so concluded that Hotel Olympia was sold, would Wike be decent and humble enough to reverse himself if documents showed it was never sold but concessioned or leased? This is one of the dangers of Wike’s commission that harbours a predetermined outcome in the name of an Inquiry and Amaechi will not subject himself to Wike’s deceit and phony shenanigans.
Hotel Olympia was never sold. The hotel was only concessioned (or leased) on the approval of the State Executive Council and not sold.” Amaechi described a top member of the probe panel as a man who is well known to harbour a long held, extreme anger, hatred and animosity against him.
He added: “We have said that former governor Amaechi left billions of naira and we even went ahead to mention the banks and give the names of the accounts the money were, as at May 29, 2015.
We challenge Wike to publish the statements of these accounts and other Rivers State government ministries, departments and agencies(MDAs) accounts as at May 29; to prove his claim and show the public that Amaechi left an empty treasury for him.”
State APC chairman, Davies Ikanya, said the party had dismissed the allegation against Amaechi with a wave of the hand, noting that the latest allegation by Wike that the former presidential campaign chairman had foreign bank accounts lacked substance.
He stated that the stories flooding the internet and social media about Amaechi are mere fabrications intended to ridicule him and poison the mind of President Muhammadu Buhari who is expected to make him a key member of his cabinet.
For the avoidance of doubt, Amaechi has no account with a bank in Minnesota, USA as alleged by these devious rumour mongers. It is also not true that CNN’s Christiane Amanpour accused Amaechi of corruption, as being claimed by his detractors.
Besides, at no time did Amaechi write to Bancorp or any bank in Switzerland, stating that he deposited any funds in error. ’’ These are wicked lies concocted by evil-minded persons desperate to pull down Amaechi but who are bound to fail,” Ikanya said.
The governor had raised the body in June to investigate a number of issues relating to how finances were handled and projects awarded and executed by the immediate past administration in the state.