Rivers orders Amaechi, Ukpo, others to refund over N97bn

Rivers orders Amaechi, Ukpo, others to refund over N97bn

Former Governor Chibuke Amaechi

Rivers State Government ordered former Governor Chibuke Amaechi, retired Brigadier Anthony Ukpo, former military administrator of the state and some former political office holders to refund over N97 billion allegedly misappropriated in the sales of the State valued as­sets.
Also, the state government has directed the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Chin­we Aguma, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), to commence the process of prosecuting the Amaechi and two others, over the sale of the state’s four gas turbines without due process.
Governor Nyesom Wike ordered the suspension of permanent sec­retaries and other top civil servants indicted by the report of the Justice George Omereji-led Judicial Com­mission of Inquiry into the sales of valued assets of the state during the immediate past administration.
Briefing newsmen at the end of the state executive council meeting af­ter receiving the White Paper on the Commission’s report, the Commis­sioner for Housing, Barrister Emma Okah, said Amaechi would be pros­ecuted along with the former Com­missioner for Finance, Dr. Chamber­lain Peterside and his counterpart in the Ministry of Power, Sir Augustine Nwokocha.
Okah said the state government also ordered the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, to commence the recovery of funds re­alised from the sale of the four gas turbines from the former governor and Nwokocha.
He said: “You will agree with me that the Omereji commission had several terms of references and wqe will be taking them one after the other. The first term of reference is to ascertain the sale of the Omoku 150 megawatts gas turbine; Afam 360 megawatts gas turbine; Trans-Amadi 136 megawatts gas turbine and the Eleme 75 megawatts gas turbine by the administration of former Gover­nor Chibhike Rotimi Amaechi.
“The commission finds as a fact that the sale of 70% equity from the First Independent Power Limited in Omoku gas turbine, Trans-Amadi gas turbine, Afam Phase I gas turbine and Eleme gas turbine, have been very difficult to justify. They have therefoe recommended the review of sale of the power assets and the government of Rivers State has accepted that rec­ommendation.
“Refund of proceeds by Chibuike Amaechi , Chamberlain Peterside, and Augustine Nwokocha. In further­ance of this findings that the sale of the four gas turbines was unjustifiable and against the interest of the govern­ment and people of Rivers State.
“The commission recommends that the former governor of Rivers State, Chibuike Amaechi, along with his former commissioners for Finance and Power, Dr. Chamberlain Peter­side and Augustine Nwokocha, re­spectively, should be held to account for their roles in the sales of the power generation assets of First Independent Power Limited and the disbursement of the proceeds there from.
“Government accepts this recom­mendation and directs the office of the Honourable Attorney-General and commissioner for Justice, to promptly set in motion the appropriate machin­ery for the recovery of the proceeds of the sale of the gas turbines from the former governor, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi, and every other persons im­plicated in the commission’s report.”
Okah stated that the state govern­ment has directed the Attorney-Gen­eral and Commissioner for Justice to recover the three billion from former Commissioner for Agriculture, Emma Chinda, which were meant for agri­cultural free loans to farmers.
Also, he stated that former com­missioner for Health, Dr. Sampson Parker was to refund some billions of naira used without due process for the construction of the Justice Karibi- Whyte Hospital, while the former Commissioner for Transport, George Tolofari and former military Gov­ernor of Old Rivers State, General Anthony Ukpo were to join Amaechi in returning N33 billion spent on the state monorail project without pass­ing through due process.
Reacting to the development, the Secretary, Media and Publicity Com­mittee of the All Progressives Con­gress (APC) in the state, Godstime Orlukwu, described the decision of the state government to issue a White Paper of the Omereji report as a non issue.
Orlukwu stated that Amaechi, who is the leader of the party in the state, would definitely meet the state gov­ernment in court, when it fulfils its promise to prosecute the former gov­ernor.
He said: “It is a non-issue. Let them begin the prosecution; there is no problem, we will meet them in court.”

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