April 25, 2024

Don’t accuse Ikpeazu of corruption without evidence, Udensi tells Otti

Labour Party stakeholders pass vote of confidence on Gov. Otti

Governor Alex Otti

By Ugochukwu Alaribe

UMUAHIA- A chieftain of the All Progressives Grand Alliance ,APGA, in Abia State ,Chief Chikwe Udensi, has warned Governor Alex Otti, to stop accusing his predecessor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, without providing evidence of the alleged corruption.

Otti had during a public lecture in the United States of America, alleged that he commissioned a forensic audit which revealed that the Ikpeazu administration appropriated N107 billion and paid contractors for non existent projects

Reacting to the allegations,Udensi urged Otti to publish the report of the forensic audit,stressing that the Governor should not mix his good works with falsehood.

The APGA chieftain stated that the manner in which the Otti administration is treating the alleged embezzlement of N107 billion fund suggests that such allegations may not be true.

He further stated that there are pieces of evidence to prove that similar previous allegations made by the Otti administration have proven to be untrue.

He said; “Some of the organizers of the Governor’s trip to America are very close to me and known to me. What I asked for is the full record of the whole proceeding not just what the Governor said. However, I’m a bit disturbed that a matter like this is being treated with trivial attitudes. I’m concerned that N107 billion is alleged to have been embezzled and we’re talking about some contractors and using native knowledge to go and locate the airport. We must get serious.

“107 billion? By now, we should have commenced a full investigation and all those who are responsible for such heinous arrangements should be in detention if the proper process are taken. What do I mean by proper process, the crime is said to have been committed in Abia State, the alleged suspects are all in Abia State, the investigation was done in Abia State, then the announcement of the results of the investigation was done in the United States of America.

“You recall that when the governor came in, he indicated that he’s going investigate the regimes that were before him. We were expecting an investigation from 1999 to 2023, but he chose only the Ikpeazu administration to investigate.

“You will recall that I criticized it because I was not comfortable with it. When you seem to specify your level of interest, people may become suspicious of what actually your interest is.

“Again given the fact that everybody must remain innocent until proven guilty, you cannot insist by any imagination that anybody is a criminal. Look at what’s happening in social media right now, the trial is going on at social media.

“In Investigation, when you see any of the security agencies start media trial on a case, then they have no case. Go and check it, go and check records. Once they leave the court where you ought to take your matter to and go to the media, you are playing to the gallery and people like us cannot take you seriously because nothing can be more evil than an accusation that denies the accused the right of defence.

“Let’s look at the things that have happened in Abia State, there are things that make me not take all those records I see seriously because I personally have reasons to question some of the things that are being done in my state. That doesn’t mean that my Governor is not doing something in the area of Infrastructure. I’ve commended him because he’s doing something in the area of Infrastructure, but there are other things that ought to be done and done properly.

“That’s why some of us are very sceptical about the N107 billion that the Governor has gone to the press for prosecution.

“Im a forensic investigator which was why I was concerned when the government said they did a forensic investigation on Abia account.Nobody can do a forensic Investigation according to the standard operating procedure without ensuring that the records of the auditors and that of the auditee are in consonance with each other.

“You don’t just make one sided audit and then announce it as forensic, no. If you’re accusing somebody, the record of the accuser must be in consonance with your own records before it becomes forensic. I’m a fellow of that Institute, Chartered Institute of forensic investigation and I know how it works. You must give us records the way they are so that we can hold the past Government to account.

“If I don’t see the facts, I cannot hold anybody culpable, especially now that the government you have accused has come out to tell you, show us the records. The past government has denied making N10 billion payment for any airport.”

“N107 billion wasted when salaries and pensions could not be paid, infrastructure was dying and we had N107 billion somewhere? It’s a serious matter for Abians and for us to take it seriously, we must have facts and if those facts are not verifiable, I’ll treat it as fraudulent as I have treated the other ones.

“We must do what’s right. What we are doing today by accusing people without going to court and without showing what they’ve done, it is wrong and unacceptable to people like me. It may be acceptable to some other persons because we all have our various opinions and procedures. We must do things rightly.

“Before you come to talk to the people, you must have gotten your facts right. You’re doing some work in infrastructure, continue the good job you’re doing, but tell us the truth. We cannot accept any lies from anybody.”