Abia Stakeholder, Ogbonnaya, Backs Otti’s Move To Recover Abia Looted Funds, Properties 

 

Abians have been urged to support the Dr Alex Otti’s led government in recovering the state’s property,funds in the hands of individuals, while all necessary information that can lead to the recovery of the said looted properties and funds by past administrations in Abia, should not be withheld.

In an interview with a critical stakeholder in Abia and past commissioner for Trade and Investment, Chief Charles Ogbonnaya, said he backs fully the Gov Otti’s move to recover all Abia’s property in the custody of individuals, saying that anyone that objects the move, is either a culprit that doesn’t want to be fished out.

Chief Charles Ogbonnaya

According to Chief Ogbonnaya, Abians should be glad that the present Governor is taking the bull by the horn to secure Abians common patrimony, adding that if the Governor doesn’t do it, the robbery on the state would continue to transcend.

He added that the panel of inquiry became imperative, as most government landed properties have been ceded to private individuals, making reference to the office of the Ministry of Trade and Investment in Aba, which he said had been allocated to an individual.

Ogbonnaya also disclosed that some time in 2018 and 2019, some part of Ibeku high school, Umuahia, was parcellated and allocated to people, but the move was halted, with the timely intervention of members of the school’s Alma mater,who took to protest and made complaints to the then Governor.

He stressed that same illegality occurred in Government college and some government agencies and parastatal. “Go to GRA in Aba, landed properties that is supposed to be controlled by the government, have all been balkanized and given to individuals to build on.

“I sincerely commend the Governor for this bold step. The state properties should not be in the hands of individuals. I am a PDP man. What we are talking about has nothing to do with party. We are talking about the mismanagement of government funds by individuals, anyone guilty,should be identified and brought to book”.

Chief Charles Ogbonnaya, also advised Abians not to be economical with information that would lead to the recovery of the state’s looted funds, saying that anyone that has useful information on this regard, should not hesitate in availing it.

He further revealed that under his watch as a Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, eight moving earth equipments were acquired for the grading of rural roads across the 17 Local Government Areas, but today, those equipments are no where to be found, questioning the disappearance of the machines.

“Anybody that sold government property at any time, should be exposed. Why must you sell government property? No matter the colouration, you are a thief”.

He added that there is a laid down routine to disposing government properties, with government approval adequately given for the property to be sold, followed by an advertisement for auctioneers to come for bidding and not the other way, where people wake up overnight and begin to sell off government properties.

The Elder statesman, however, charged Abians to release information that could help recover all looted funds and properties, applauding the Governor for the bold step in inaugurating the Judicial Panel of Inquiry, headed by Justice Ukwuoma Duruoha-Igwe (rtd), which he said was a welcome development, as it would  go a long way in bringing sanity to the system.

Recall, that a week ago, the Abia Governor, Dr Alex Otti set up machinery in motion for the recovery of properties and assets belonging to the state Government, with the formal inauguration of a judicial panel of inquiry.

The Governor had at different fora issued a stern warning to those in possession of government property, as his administration would spare no cost in bringing to book culprits who looted government properties and funds,vowing that the state’s resources would not be privatized under his watch.

Speaking during the inuaguration of the Judicial
Panel of inquiry into the recovery of properties and at the Banquet Hall, Government House, Umuahia, Governor Otti, appealed to the general public to support members of the panel with any information at their disposal that would help in the recovery of government properties and funds allegedly looted by the past administration.

The Governor noted that the setting up of the panel became necessary as the new administration was constantly inundated with complaints by the public following “unbridled looting and misuse of government properties and resources” by the past administration.

 

He said; “Ordinarily, the desire of this administration would have been to focus on the business of governance and the delivering of the dividend of democracy, without resorting to any form of inquiry into past deeds. Unfortunately, since our assumption of office, about a month ago, we have been inundated with complaints of unimaginable and large-scale malfeasance by very highly placed members of the past government and their patrons.

“We have also experienced unbridled looting and misuse of government properties and resources. Besides we have been experiencing difficulties in accessing government properties, which would usually be available to continue with the business of governance. As at now, so many MDAs find it very difficult to perform their day to day duties. Even public schools were not spared as part of their lands have been converted to private use.

“It is for the foregoing reasons that we came to the conclusion that it would amount to being insensitive and reckless and encouraging bad behaviour, if our administration did not listen to the yearnings of those who elected us, by looking into their complaints. The government decided therefore to set up this Judicial Panel of Inquiry to ensure the recovery of government funds and properties”.

The Governor named the terms of reference for the judicial panel to include; “To receive and examine complaints and memoranda from individuals and corporate entities on the looting and or conversion of Government Properties, Funds and Related Matters and where necessary make recommendations to the government for remedial measures or any other measures as appropriate.

“Examine and ascertain whether government moveable and immovable assets and funds or part of it have been illegally acquired /occupied/converted to private use and identify the persons responsible and further make recommendations for recovery and appropriate sanctions.

“Ascertain the extent of allocation and revocation of land in Abia State from May 2015 – May 2023 and determine the propriety of such allocation and revocation.

Others include; “Review the award and execution of contracts from May 2015 to May 2023 and ascertain if they were in conformity with extant laws.

“To investigate any other matter incidental or related to the foregoing terms of reference and make recommendations to the government based on their findings”.

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