Imo Finances: Why Ihedioha must probe Okorocha — Intersociety

Posted by News Express | 27 March 2019 | 707 times

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•Imo Governor-Elect Emeka Ihedioha

Foremost pro-democracy and civil rights group, the Int’l Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety), on Wednesday demanded a probe of the financial dealings of the out-going administration of Rocahs Okorocha by the incoming one of Emeka Ihedioha.

The demand is contained in a statement issued in Onitsha by Intersociety, in which it claimed that Imo finances are currently “in a mess” and need to be cleaned up. The statement was signed by Intesociety Chair Emeka Umeagbalasi; Head, Democracy & Good Governance Programme, Chinwe Umeche, Esq.; and Head, Campaign & Publicity Department, Chidinma Udegbunam, Esq.

It reads in part: “Assuming the Governor-Elect of Imo State, Mr. Emeka Ihedioha, truly wishes to govern the People of Imo State purposefully and constructively, his Administration must start with holistic investigation and cleaning of the mess in the finances of Imo State. Going by several advocacy investigations carried out by Intersociety in recent times on the state of the finances of the States in the Southeast Nigeria, the past and outgoing Governments of Imo State have consecutively run huge budget deficits over the years. This is despite several “external funds interventions” such as “Paris Club refunds”, “Federal Government credit or soft loan facilities” and “international financial/development assistance”.

“This is more so when Government borrowings are easily determined by the amount of its annual deficit budgets or a situation where such Government’s projected annual IGR, Federal allocations, cornered LGA allocations and zero borrowings or financial assistance are doubly overtaken by its projected annual budget (recurrent: overheads and personnel costs and capital budget).

“For instance, if a Government such as the outgoing Government of Imo State budgets, say, N150b as its total annual budget, out of which N90B is expected from IGR, Federal allocations, cornered LGA allocations and other zero borrowings or financial assistance; it simply means that the same Government will unstoppably borrow N60B elsewhere to fund the budget deficits; especially when there is no supplementary budget for cutting down the mother budget and its huge deficits.”

Intersociety consequently demanded that the incoming Administration of Emeka Ihedioha in Imo State must do the following:

 

a.      Set up a Verification Panel of Auditors to investigate and verify the mess in the finances of the outgoing Government of Imo State so as to:  

b. ascertain the true state of finance of the State

c. what is left in the State coffers (if any)

d. total amount of unpaid arrears of salaries and other remunerations belonging to serving workforce of the Government of Imo State and those in its 27 Local Government Areas between 29th May 2011 and 29th May 2019 and those owed by previous Administrations in the State before 29th May 2011.

e. total amount of unpaid pensions, gratuities and other retirement benefits belonging to retired workforce of the Government of Imo State and its 27 Local Government Areas between 29th May 2011 and 29th May 2019 and those owed by previous Administrations in the State before 29th May 2011.

f. total amount of unpaid judgment debts by the outgoing Government of Imo State, dates of their obtainment and parties and persons owning them.

g. total amount of unpaid contract debts by the outgoing Government of Imo State for contracts already completed and commissioned (if any)

h. total amount of unpaid contract debts in the State for uncompleted projects including roads (if any) and their various stages of completion as well as terms or circumstances of award of the contracts

i. total amount of foreign loans or unpaid debts borrowed externally by the outgoing State Govt., between 29th May 2011 and 29th May 2019 and those borrowed by the previous Administrations in the State before 29th May 2011

j. total amount of local loans or unpaid local debts borrowed from commercial banks by the outgoing Government of the State between 29th May 2011 and 29th May 2019 and those borrowed by the previous Administrations in the State before 29th May 2011

k. illegal seizure or acquisition of Government lands or properties (if any) within the State or beyond by outgoing top elected and appointed officials in the State for personal use or criminal acquisition between 29th May 2011 and 29th May 2019.

l. illegal or unlawful withdrawals from the State coffers, other than for defraying statutory and legitimate monthly wage bills including payment of workers’ salaries, overheads and pensions;  or for payment of duly certified completed public contracts or projects

m. holistic investigation into all local borrowings between 29th May 2011 and 29th May 2019 other than foreign borrowings; authentication of names and addresses of the lenders, purposes for obtaining the loans, their uses, agreed percentage interests and default penalties; repayments already done and specific and general terms or conditions for repayment of such loans or debts.

n. Blacklisting including court actions against the lenders of loans found to have been fraudulently obtained in law, through investigation under demand; by the outgoing Government of Imo State particularly those that fall outside loan lending laws of Nigeria and those possibly obtained between 12th March 2019 and 29th May 2019 or those obtained within the period but got backdated to evade traces and culpability.

o. Cancellation of such loans found to have been fraudulently obtained under paragraph “m” (if any) and abrogation of their repayment or servicing obligations and agreements with the Government of Imo State.

p. Publication and wide media circulation including advertorials, of the abridged findings of the Verification Panel of Auditors for specific and general public knowledge by the People of Imo State, Nigerians and members of the international community.


Source: News Express

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