May 4, 2023

Abia Assembly war: Apugo, EFCC set to probe govt officials

NDIC asks EFFC for funds recovered from banks' frauds

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By Steve Oko

The supremacy battle rocking the Abia State House of Assembly has shown no sign of abating as the House Committee on Anti-Corruption and Public Accounts, in partnership with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and relevant security agencies, is set to commence probe on various “elected and appointed officials of Government”.

This is contained in a release issued Thursday by the new Chairman of the committee and member representing Aba South state constituency, Hon. Obinna Ichita (APGA).

Ichita who was appointed Wednesday by the new Speaker of the House, Hon. Chukwudi Apugo, said the Committee had two weeks to submit its report to the House.

He said that the Committee had received avalanche of petitions against both elected and appointed officials, and declared the readiness of the Committee to treat all the petitions with dispatch.

According to the release, various Ministries, Department and agencies will be communicated on the days to appear before the committee for grilling as the petitions affect them.

The release made available to Vanguard read in part:”Abia State House of Assembly Committee on Anti-Corruption and Public Accounts has received a plethora of petitions alleging various offenses by different elected and appointed functionaries of the State.

“The Committee wishes to use this opportunity to inform all citizens who have sent in petitions that the committee is committed to a quick consideration of their petitions in relations to the Auditor General’s Report and the financial statement of the accounts of Abia State Government.

“In a bid to discharge this duty speedily within the next fourteen days, the Abia State House of Assembly  Committee on Anti-Corruption and Public Accounts, will be holding a joint interactive session with the leadership of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), other anti-graft agencies as well as the relevant security agencies.

“The committee is expected to submit the report of its findings in the plenary session of the Abia State House of Assembly.

“The Head of Service of Abia State and all Accounting Officers of the concerned Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Abia State Government will be given further information regarding their various dates and times of appearance before the Committee.”

Both Chinedum Orji and Apugo are still laying claims to the speakership of the House.

Some lawmakers in a session presided over by the Deputy Speaker, Hon Ifeanyi Uchendu, impeached the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Orji, and elected his kinsman, Hon. Apugo as his replacement.

Hours later, the Speaker, Orji who met with about eight lawmakers at the Assembly complex impeached the Deputy Speaker and suspended all nine legislators that participated in his removal.

He insisted that he remains the Speaker and could not have been legally impeached outside the Assembly complex.

But on Wednesday, hostilities escalated as Apugo and the lawmakers in his camp held a plenary and suspended Orji and those loyal to him.

According to Ichita, 16 lawmakers are with Apugo, even as he insists that the emergence of the new Speaker followed due process.

Ichita also denied that the lawmakers were being sponsored by anybody, saying they only wanted the right things to be done.

Orji was accused of locking the Assembly complex for four months and failing to convene the House while there were urgent legislative matters that needed the inputs of the lawmakers.

But Orji had denied the allegations, saying it was the collective decision of the lawmakers to go on break after the elections.

Orji who spoke through his Chief Press Secretary Mr Jude Ndukwe told Vanguard that “he remains the Speaker “.