…Says he was denied fair hearing in $50m fraud case

By Davies Iheamnachor

Former Minister of Transportation and past Governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi, has promised to end the crisis rocking the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the state in weeks.

Amaechi also said he was not given fair hearing on the state committee report that alleged he and six others embezzled $50 million during his administration as state governor.

He spoke in Port Harcourt, weekend, while fielding questions from newsmen during his home-coming after the presidential primaries of the APC.

Amaechi said he was back in the state to motivate candidates and to settle the grievances in the party, as soon as possible.

He noted that the disagreements in the party were not fallouts from the gubernatorial primaries, adding that they were minor issues that would be resolved in a matter of weeks.

He said: “That is why I came, because anytime we have a transition, you are bound to have disagreements. Apart from the first disagreement that has always been there, the other one is ambition, I am talking about the internal rancour among us.

“In the next few weeks, one to three weeks, we will be able to resolve the issues. And these issues are not about the governorship candidate, we have passed that stage. All we can say is, are they motivated? They are not motivated, so I need to speak with them and I think nobody is aggrieved about the governorship candidate.”

I was denied fair hearing in $50m fraud case

He acknowledged that the issue of his alleged involvement in fraud was subjudice, emphasizing  that the Rivers State government did not follow due diligence in complying with the tenet of the law in setting up a panel of enquiry.

He said: “I hope that the Rivers State governor has good lawyers because the Supreme Court said in their judgment, that he has powers to set up a panel and their work is to gather information concerning our dealings while in government and after they have finished gathering the information, they would pass the information to either ICPC, the Police or EFCC.

“The police have not invited me, neither ICPC nor EFCC. There is what we call fair hearing. They have not heard my side of the story and they went to court to do what? Something must be giving him (state governor) confidence.”

He insisted that the Supreme Court in her judgment had ruled that before the Rivers State government could approach the court,  they must send the outcome of the panel to the investigating authorities, adding that such move would have been taken before the legal process.

On the suits seeking to remove Tonye Cole as the APC governorship candidate in the state over involvement in the alleged $50 million fraud, Amaechi maintained that only the court can dispose Cole as APC candidate.

He said: “One of the grounds, which they are claiming is that Tonye is in court on an allegation of embezzling N96 billion. First of all, until he is indicted by a court, you cannot disqualify him and only a court can disqualify him.

“The strategy of the other party is to build fear in our supporters and our dear voters in Rivers State that his name will not be on the ballot and that they should not waste their time. We are not God and court, we believe that the court will look at all the cases dispassionately.”

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