Adviser to the Governor of Abia on Finance, Mr Mike Akpara has described the claim by former Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu of leaving N24 billion in the state government coffers as false. Akpara made this known on Thursday during a press conference at the Government House, Umuahia.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that one Ikechukwu Iroha, a former aide of Ikpeazu, had made a Facebook post that several billions of naira were allegedly left behind for the Gov. Alex Otti led administration by the former governor.
The special adviser said that neither Ikpeazu nor his spokespersons had refuted the false and offensive claims contained in the Facebook post. He said allies and former aides of Ikpeazu had resorted to circulating the fake news with the intent to misrepresent facts and deceive the public, especially workers and pensioners.
Akpara called on the people of Abia to disregard the false claims made by the previous administration, adding that state government’s records show that as at May 28 the state had a huge financial liability of N191 billion. He said that “the Okezie Ikpeazu-led government did not leave any N24 billion in the account of Abia Government as they falsely claimed.
“The 200 million U.S dollar and 50 million US dollars they claimed they left for the new administration are loans they were pursuing which are yet to crystalize. Poor internal generation of revenue, with the little they generated frittered away in payment to consultants for no added value and they pay as much as 20% which is highly unethical.
“The members of the Ikpeazu-led administration were busy picking money from everywhere towards the end of their tenure as the N2.8 billion from SURE-P that came in through the Union Bank few days to Inauguration was taken by them.
“We made efforts to stop them from taking the money, but we lost out, however, we succeeded in stopping them from taking the N3 billion from JAAC, as we went as far as writing EFCC to stop them.”
Akpara said that the previous administration left humongous physical liabilities in all the key institutions which resulted in loss of Abia State University Teaching Hospital and Abia State Polytechnic accreditation for the first time in history.
According to him, the regulatory authorities said that the basis for withdrawing the accreditation of the institutions was non-payment of salaries, lack of equipment and lack of infrastructure.
He said that the failure of Ikpeazu to pay April and May salaries before leaving office was another indication that there was no money in the state government’s coffers. Akpara said that “if Ikpeazu is trying to preempt anti-corruption agencies by making such provocative false claims, he should know that they work with facts and figures.
“Even if he runs into the APC to seek refuge as he is planning to do, these anti-corruption agencies would pursue and bring him to justice from there. Already EFCC is on their trail and as we speak some of their bankers are being invited for questioning by the agency.”
He said that the payment of salaries and pension remain sacrosanct, adding that the government had evolved payment strategies that would ensure that arrears and gratuities are completely paid before December and that workers would be paid on 28th of every month.