By Tony Edike
ENUGUâ€”TWO principal officers of Udenu Local Government Area in Enugu State, have been detained by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, over an indebtedness of about N66 million to Skye Bank Plc by the immediate past administration of Dr. Ignatius Eze.
The two officers, Mr. Michael Akoh, Head of Personnel Management and Mr. Ndubuisi Ambrose, Treasurer of the council, were arrested last Friday byÂ EFCC operatives in Enugu, when they visited the Commissionâ€™s office in response to an invitation extended to them in connection with the debt, which reportedly accrued from a credit facility obtained from the bank by the council to purchase official cars for its principal officers and 10 councilors.
The detention of the principal officers, who are signatories to the account of the council has seriously paralyzed the activities of the council, as the February Salary of the workers, which was to be paid last week had been put on hold.
The management of Skye Bank had forwarded a petition to the anti-graft agency,Â complaining of the debt, which the new administration of the council under Dr. Godwin Abonyi, had refused to settle.
According to the bank, the councilâ€™s total outstanding obligation to it is N66,002,427.71, comprising N29 million loan and the accrued interest on the facility running at default,â€ N36 million temporary overdraft and interest and N1,002,427.71, being â€œdebit interest capitalized on account running at defaultâ€.
The former council chairman, Dr. Eze, who confirmed to Vanguard that his administration obtained the credit facility in three installments of N18.5 million, N45 million and N30 million over-draft to settle different needs of the council within his two years in office, said his administration had maintained good relationship with the bank.
He disclosed that a substantial amount was repaid from the councilâ€™s monthly allocation from the Federation Account, which was being lodged with the bank during his regime, leaving a balance of about N57 million by December last year when his tenure elapsed.
Eze said he deliberately did not include the councilâ€™s transaction with the bank in his handover note, as he had expected the detained treasurer to do so in his own handover note.