A panel set up to investigate the finances of Imo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission has said over N6 billion that accrued to the commission during the years of ex-Governor, Rochas Okorocha, could not be accounted for.
The Chairman of the panel, Dr. Romanus Ezeogu, stated this on Wednesday during the submission of the report to Governor Emeka Ihedioha.
Ezeogu said: “The panel findings on finance and Monterey Bay transactions in the commission showed that ex-Governor Okorocha had administered the accounts of the commission as a slush fund as over N6,044,774,341.37 could not be accounted for.
“The issue here begs for explanation on what happened to the original 40 per cent monthly derivation fund allocated to ISOPADEC.
“Governor Okorocha should be held responsible for the missing funds.
“The law establishing ISOPADEC provides its funding from the 13 per cent derivation from the Federation Account,” Ezeogu said.
The panel also alleged that Okorcha took N422 million from the commission’s fund for the purchase of pre-inauguration vehicles from Rise and Shine Motors and also diverted N200 million to purchase transformers during the 2019 campaigns.
The panel also faulted claims that Okorocha spent over N400 million on the abandoned Marine University at Osemoto in Oguta.
The panel alleged it discovered N1 billion lodged in Ecobank, Obinze branch, which was withdrawn without bank details or description of any kind.
Ezeogu also disclosed that Dr. Pascal Obi, former Principal Secretary to Okorocha, received N35 million from the commission’s funds and recommended that he be summoned to explain what he did with the money .
The panel recommended the restructuring of the commission to ensure sustainable development in oil producing areas.
Governor Ihedioha appreciated the painstaking efforts of the panel and promised to look into the report with a view to passing a White Paper.
He said: “Going forward, it is important we get through what happened in the past if we must reposition the commission for a more efficient delivery towards realising its mandate.
“It is important to note that this is not a witch-hunt.
“I assure a sense of justice while implementing this recommendations after the White Paper must have been submitted.”
Reacting to the development, Okorocha described Ihedioha’s administration as most vindictive and deceitful, saying nothing good would come out of it.
Okorocha, who spoke through his Media Aide, Sam Onwuemeodo, said everything about Ihedioha’s administration was fraudulent, fake and deceitful.
He said: “He has no programme for the people and that is why he is foot dragging and chasing shadows because he lacks the capacity to govern a state like Imo.
“He should have gone back to the House of Representatives.
“For 12 years of PDP (Peoples Democratic Party) government in lmo, ISOPADEC operated from a rented apartment, but Okorocha built a magnificent edifice as ISOPADEC headquarters, stopped militancy in the oil producing areas of ohaji, Egbema and Oguta and rehabilitated the militants, built hospitals and schools for them, empowered their youths, gave them light, started the Marine University in Oguta, etc.”