BY ANAYO OKOLI
UMUAHIA—THE judicial panel of inquiry set up by Abia State government to examine activities of the State Housing Corporation has discovered how the outfit ripped off citizens by collecting money from them for houses and lands without providing any.
The panel also discovered that the corporation borrowed over N1 billion without due process and approval by the state government.
These were some of the observations in the panel’s report which was submitted to Governor Theodore Orji.
Chairman of the panel, Justice Emele Uka Onuoha, said the panel also discovered that management of the corporation and board members were at loggerheads and, therefore, worked at cross purposes.
His words: “We discovered that the management borrowed more than N1billion without approval and due process from government. We also discovered that many people were being owed payment for land and house allocations as land and houses were not given to these people.
“We discovered that the management was not cooperating with the board members, so many people were given land free without any payment, some of them powerful politicians and individuals in the society.”
Receiving the report, Governor Orji explained that the state government decided to set up the panel, following public outcry against the activities in the housing corporation, saying it was not to witch-hunt anybody.
“I did not set up panels to witch-hunt anybody but on the request from Abians as a result of the public outcry on some activities of government agencies which they say are anti-government.
“Chairman of the panel has mentioned on how N1billion was borrowed without due process, on how land and houses were given out to individuals, not that they were paid for but were given free of charge
“One thing I have to assure Abians is that anybody who has been indicted in this report should be ready to refund the money or else, the long arm of the law will catch up with you,” Governor Orji said.
He promised that that the state government would implement to the letter recommendations made by the panel after a review panel would have studied the report.