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Okorocha Blew N25b LG Funds – Lawyer Petitions EFCC

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okorochaA legal practitioner based in Owerri, Kissinger Ikeokwu of Kissinger Ikeokwu & Co. has petitioned the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) alleging

“illegal procurement, fraudulent diversion, stealing and misappropriation of the sum of N25b by the Imo State governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha.

[Image: Imo State governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha]

In the petition, Mr. Ikeokwu complained that Governor Okorocha fraudulently procured a loan of twenty-five billion Naira from Zenith Bank which he expended for his private business. He, therefore, urged the anti-corruption agency to ‘use its good offices to ensure that those who are indicted in the fleecing of Imo citizens face the full weight of the law.’

Below is a copy of the petition obtained by Elombah.com:

The Chairman, EFCC, Abuja.

Sir,

Complaint against the illegal procurement, fraudulent diversion, stealing and misappropriation of the sum of N25,002,000,000.00 (twenty five billion, two million naira) accruing from n926,000,000.00 (nine hundred and twenty six million) loans to the twenty seven local government councils in Imo State, from Zenith Bank Plc

COMPLAINT

1. It has come to our notice that between September, 2014 to December, 2014, Imo State government who oversees the affairs of the twenty seven local government councils in the state, fraudulently procured a loan of N25,002,000,000.00 (TWENTY FIVE BILLION AND TWO MILLION NAIRA) accruing from N926,000,000.00 (NINE HUNDRED AND TWENTY SIX MILLION) obtained from MRSSRS ZENITH BANK PLC as loans to the twenty seven local government councils in Imo State, respectively.

2. Sometime between September-December 2014, the immediate past Imo State Commissioner, for Local Government Affairs, Professor ADAOBI OBASI, who currently is the present Acting Vice Chancellor of Imo State University, constrained the 27 Transition Committee Chairmen of 27 Local Government Councils of Imo State and their Directors of Administration and General Services DAGS to bring their various LGA letter headed papers to Owerri.

3. The 27 Transition Committee Chairmen and their DAGS were invited by Professor ADAOBI OBASI who incidentally is a relation of the Governor and serving as Commissioner for Local Government affairs at the time, to come to her office. The reason was because the TC Chairmen and their DAGS are the two signatories to the local government councils.

4. Upon bringing their letter headed papers, the 27 TC Chairmen and their DAGS’ were constrained to sign a Finance and General Purposes Committee (F&GPC) Resolution for a loan request drafted by the office of the Commissioner for Local Government Affairs, Professor ADAOBI OBASI.

5. The Finance and General Purposes Committee (F&GPC) of the twenty seven local government councils in Imo State, never met and at no time did they make a Resolution for a loan request of N926,000,000.00 (NINE HUNDRED AND TWENTY SIX MILLION) as presented to Messrs Zenith Bank PLC.

6. Upon presenting the forged Finance and General Purposes Committee (F&GPC) Resolution for a loan request to Messrs Zenith Bank PLC, the state government procured the sum of N926,000,000.00 (NINE HUNDRED AND TWENTY SIX MILLION) respectively on behalf of the 27 local government councils in Imo State, amounting to N25,002,000,000.00 (TWENTY FIVE BILLION AND TWO MILLION NAIRA).

7. Despite using the allocation of the 27 local government councils in Imo State as collateral not even a kobo of the N926,000,000.00 (NINE HUNDRED AND TWENTY SIX MILLION) got to the various Accounts of the 27 local government councils and none was disbursed by the Council.

8. The entire N25,002,000,000.00 (TWENTY FIVE BILLION AND TWO MILLION NAIRA) were moved into a specially dedicated Zenith Bank Account only accessible to the Governor of Imo State and the management of Zenith Bank PLC made the account a top secret.

9. As a reward for signing the forged Finance and General Purposes Committee (F&GPC) Resolution for the procurement of the loan former TC Chairmen were induced with sums between ranging from N50Million to N85 Million.

10. To retire the monies given to them, the former TC Chairmen embarked upon a project of the renovation of their various LGA secretariats.

11. The monies for the renovation of the 27 LGA Secretariats in Imo State were paid directly into the private accounts of the former 27 TC Chairmen by Professor Adaobi Obasi’s office. None of the funds hit the various Accounts of the local government councils, no tenders were conducted and the LGA Treasurers and DAGS did not play any role in the execution of the contracts for the renovation of the 27 local government secretariats.

12. The Governor and his entire administration made the details of these N25,002,000,000.00 (TWENTY FIVE BILLION AND TWO MILLION NAIRA) loan a top secret and have used up the funds the way they deemed fit even with the tacit connivance of the Speaker and members of the 7th Imo House of Assembly.

13. There was no day the procurement of N926,000,000.00 (NINE HUNDRED AND TWENTY SIX MILLION) formed part of the deliberation of the 7th Imo House of Assembly in line with Section 7 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, which empowered the House of Assembly to make laws for the smooth governance of the local government councils.

14. Since the inception of this administration, the various local government councils in Imo State have not executed any project directly, hence they did not need N926,000,000.00 (NINE HUNDRED AND TWENTY SIX MILLION) loans.

15. Worst still is the fact that the local government Council officials never presented any project to the management of Zenith Bank PLC for which they sought to borrow a N926,000,000.00 (NINE HUNDRED AND TWENTY SIX MILLION) loan in December, 2014.

16. It is clear that the Governor of Imo State, OWELLE ANAYO ROCHAS OKOROCHA merely used the 27 local government council Allocations as collateral for the procurement of N25,002,000,000.00 (TWENTY FIVE BILLION AND TWO MILLION NAIRA) he collected and squandered for his own private business. A situation that has made Imo local government councils incapable of paying their staff salaries up to date.

17. The N926,000,000.00 (NINE HUNDRED AND TWENTY SIX MILLION) Zenith Bank loans granted in December 2014 was against the CBN regulation that Banks don’t grant loans to state governments six months to transition period.

18. Almost all the local government councils in Imo State have an average of N30 Million wage bill, but consequent upon the bourgeoning loans forced upon them by Governor Rochas Okorocha, Imo local government councils have become a pawn to Zenith Bank PLC and can no longer pay their wage bills. Even today the workers are owed June and July salaries, while the state has slashed the salaries of some departments, citing bankruptcy of the local government councils as reason for its inability to pay.

19. That in mid-July, 2015, which is just few weeks ago, Imo local government councils received a total of N5,365,201,309.29 (FIVE BILLION, THREE HUNDRED AND SIXTY FIVE MILLION, TWO HUNDRED AND ONE THOUSAND, THREE HUNDRED AND NINE NAIRA, TWENTY NINE KOBO)  as revenue accruing from the Federal Allocation Account and none of the said monies entered the account of the various local government councils. Attached to this petition is a distribution of the total amount received by each Local Government Council in Imo for June allocation for ease of reference.

20. The June local government council allocation received in July, was a Jumbo Allocation from the Federal Allocation consisting of amounts from the Statutory Revenue, and the local government shares of Value Added Tax, NLNG Funds etc. Despite the massive amount accruing to them, the state government only paid just one month salary arrear for May 2015 to the workers of the 27 local government councils in Imo State. Reason being that Zenith Bank gulped greater percentage of the money as recovery of the N926,000,000.00 (NINE HUNDRED AND TWENTY SIX MILLION) loans upon which ISPOs were placed on the Local Government Council Accounts.

21. That under the 1999 Constitution as amended, the Local Government Councils are distinct bodies, and totally different from the State Government, and both cannot share liabilities.

22. That by virtue of the 1999 Constitution as amended, the state government is under obligation to contribute a percentage of its internally generated revenue to the local government and not to deduct, divert or even use the local government council statutorily allocated funds as collateral for loans.

GROUNDS/INDICTMENTS

1. Sections 162 (6) and (7) demands that all revenues accruing to local governments must be put in a special Account called “STATE JOINT LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACCOUNT” and sub-section 7 demands that once that is done, the monies must be transferred to the various LGA Accounts. It is our humble submission that the disappearance of the N5,365,201,309.29 (FIVE BILLION, THREE HUNDRED AND SIXTY FIVE MILLION, TWO HUNDRED AND ONE THOUSAND, THREE HUNDRED AND NINE NAIRA, TWENTY NINE KOBO) June allocation accruing to the 27 Local Government Councils in Imo State at Zenith Bank PLC is tantamount to corruption.

2. That nothing in Section 7, 120, 121, 122, 123, 124 or 126 of the 1999 Constitution as amended, or the extant Imo Local Government Administration law empowers the Transition Chairmen of 27 LG Councils of Imo State, or the state government on their behalf to procure a loan of N926,000,000.00 (NINE HUNDRED AND TWENTY SIX MILLION) each upon the allocation of each local government Council in Imo State. It is our humble submission that the procurement of N926,000,000.00 (NINE HUNDRED AND TWENTY SIX MILLION) loan from Messrs Zenith Bank PLC against each of the 27 Local Government Councils in Imo State, amounting to N25,002,000,000.00 (TWENTY FIVE BILLION AND TWO MILLION NAIRA) is evidence of massive corruption and misappropriation of public funds.

3. That the procurement of N926,000,000.00 (NINE HUNDRED AND TWENTY SIX MILLION) loan by each of the 27 local government Councils in Imo State without the approval of the Imo House of Assembly first sought and obtained in accordance with Section 7 of the 1999 Constitution as amended is evidence of corrupt practices and deliberate moves to misappropriate public funds.

4. That the diversion, movement, conversion or stealing of the N926,000,000.00 (NINE HUNDRED AND TWENTY SIX MILLION) loan from Messrs Zenith Bank PLC due to the 27 Local Government Councils in Imo State, amounting to N25,002,000,000.00 (TWENTY FIVE BILLION AND TWO MILLION NAIRA) into a special account for the use of the state government is clear evidence of massive corruption and misappropriation of public funds.

5. That the granting of N926,000,000.00 (NINE HUNDRED AND TWENTY SIX MILLION) loan by Messrs Zenith Bank PLC against each of the 27 Local Government Councils in Imo State, amounting to N25,002,000,000.00 (TWENTY FIVE BILLION AND TWO MILLION NAIRA) in December 2014 barely six months to the end of the administration and their criminal diversion, movement or conversion of the said funds to a special account for the use of the state governor and making same top secret is a massive indictment on the management of Zenith Bank PLC Owerri Regional Branch.

6. That forging of the 27 Imo local government councils’ Finance and General Purposes Committee (F&GPC) Resolution for a loan request by the office of the Commissioner for Local Government Affairs, Professor ADAOBI OBASI, which she coerced the TC Chairmen and the 27 DAGS to sign, is criminal and should not go unpunished.

 PERSONS DIRECTLY AFFECTED BY THIS PETITION

1. ALL IMMEDIATE PAST TRANSITION COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN OF THE TWENTY SEVEN LOCAL GOVERNMENT COUNCIL’S OF IMO STATE AND THE DIRECTORS OF ADMINISTRATION AND GENERAL SERVICES DAGS OF THE 27 LOCAL GOVERNMENT COUNCILS IN IMO STATE

i. For the fraudulent and purported request to procure N926,000,000.00 (NINE HUNDRED AND TWENTY SIX MILLION) loan from Messrs Zenith Bank PLC against each of the 27 Local Government Councils in Imo State, amounting to N25,002,000,000.00 (TWENTY FIVE BILLION AND TWO MILLION NAIRA).

ii. For taking N926,000,000.00 (NINE HUNDRED AND TWENTY SIX MILLION) loan from Messrs Zenith Bank PLC against each of the 27 Local Government Councils in Imo State, amounting to N25,002,000,000.00 (TWENTY FIVE BILLION AND TWO MILLION NAIRA) without application and approval of the Imo House of Assembly.

iii. For conspiring with the state government to rob the 27 LGAs in Imo state of N926,000,000.00 (NINE HUNDRED AND TWENTY SIX MILLION) loan from Messrs Zenith Bank PLC against each of the 27 Local Government Councils in Imo State, amounting to N25,002,000,000.00 (TWENTY FIVE BILLION AND TWO MILLION NAIRA), which never got to the LGAs accounts.

iv. For putting the 27 LGAs in Imo State into a state of bankruptcy and insolvency.

2. DEACON CHIKE OKAFOR, FORMER COMMISSIONER FOR FINANCE, IMO STATE AND MEMBER REPRESENTING OKIGWE SOUTH IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVE.

i. He facilitated all the loans using his position as the former Regional Manager Zenith Bank Owerri and Commissioner of Finance Imo State, and Financial Adviser to the Governor, OWELLE ANAYO ROCHAS OKOROCHA.

3. THE IMMIDIATE PAST IMO STATE COMMISSIONER FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS AND ACTING VICE CHANCELLOR IMO STATE UNIVERSITY, PROFESSOR ADAOBI OBASI.

i. She forged the drafted Finance and General Purposes Committee (F&GPC) Resolution for a loan request which she compelled the 27 TC Chairmen and their DAGS to sign the documents prepared by her office.

ii. She constrained the 27 TC Chairmen and their DAGS to sign the documents prepared by her office.

ii. She conspired with the Governor, Zenith Bank PLC and DEACON CHIKE OKAFOR in discussing the modalities of the loans.

4. ZENITH BANK OF NIGERIA PLC.

i. They granted N926,000,000.00 (NINE HUNDRED AND TWENTY SIX MILLION) loan facilities to the 27 Local Government Councils in Imo State, amounting to N25,002,000,000.00 (TWENTY FIVE BILLION AND TWO MILLION NAIRA) in December 2014 barely six months to the end of the administration.

ii. They criminally diverted, moved and converted loans meant for 27 local government areas into a special account for use of the Governor and making same top secret without any written instruction of the 27 local government Councils.

5. GOVERNOR OWELLE ANAYO ROCHAS OKOROCHA.

i. He abused his office by using the 27 Local Government Councils in Imo State as pawn for N926,000,000.00 (NINE HUNDRED AND TWENTY SIX MILLION) loan from Messrs Zenith Bank PLC against each of the 27 Local Government Councils in Imo State, amounting to N25,002,000,000.00 (TWENTY FIVE BILLION AND TWO MILLION NAIRA) without application and approval of the Imo House of Assembly.

ii. He conspired with Messrs Zenith Bank PLC to move and transfer the N926,000,000.00 (NINE HUNDRED AND TWENTY SIX MILLION) loan from fund against each of the 27 Local Government Councils in Imo State, amounting to N25,002,000,000.00 (TWENTY FIVE BILLION AND TWO MILLION NAIRA) into his special Account for his private use without application the approval of the Imo House of Assembly.

ii. For spending Local Government Council funds for his own purpose.

6. IMO HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY

i. For their criminal conspiracy in the procurement of N926,000,000.00 (NINE HUNDRED AND TWENTY SIX MILLION) loan from Messrs Zenith Bank PLC against each of the 27 Local Government Councils in Imo State, amounting to N25,002,000,000.00 (TWENTY FIVE BILLION AND TWO MILLION NAIRA).

ii. For knowing and refusing to protect Imo people as they were empowered by Section 7, 120, 121, 122, 123, 124 or 126 of the 1999 Constitution as amended.

7. ACCOUNTANT GENERAL IMO STATE

i. For their criminal conspiracy in the procurement of N926,000,000.00 (NINE HUNDRED AND TWENTY SIX MILLION) loan from Messrs Zenith Bank PLC against each of the 27 Local Government Councils in Imo State, amounting to N25,002,000,000.00 (TWENTY FIVE BILLION AND TWO MILLION NAIRA).

ii. For knowing and refusing to protect Imo people.

8. AUDITOR GENERAL IMO STATE

i. For their criminal conspiracy in the procurement of N926,000,000.00 (NINE HUNDRED AND TWENTY SIX MILLION) loan from Messrs Zenith Bank PLC against each of the 27 Local Government Councils in Imo State, amounting to N25,002,000,000.00 (TWENTY FIVE BILLION AND TWO MILLION NAIRA).

ii. For having knowledge of the loan and diversion of same into state accounts and refusing to discharge the duty placed on his office under the 1999 Constitution as amended.

9. In compliance with the anti-corruption policy of President MOHAMMADU BUHARI and in pursuance of your renewed war against Financial and Economic Crime and protecting citizens against such crimes, we urge you to use your good offices to ensure that those who are indicted in the fleecing of Imo citizens, face the full weight of the law.

Thanks in anticipation of your quick intervention.

Yours faithfully,

Kissinger Ikeokwu Esq.

Legal practitioner based in Owerri.

CC: His Excellency, President Mohammadu Buhari, President Federal Republic of Nigeria

His Excellency Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Vice President Federal Republic of Nigeria

His Excellency the Governor of Imo State, Owelle Anayo Rochas Okorocha

The Director General SSS

The Inspector General of Police

The Speaker Imo House of Assembly

His Holiness A. J. V Obinna Arch Bishop of Owerri Catholic diocese

His Holiness Bishop Cyril Okorocha, Anglican Bishop of Owerri Diocese

All 3 Senators of Imo North, Imo East and Imo West Senatorial Constituency

Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, for Leaders Imo State

Prince Bob Njemanze

The National Chairman All Progressive Congress APC

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