PDP and Ebonyi government bicker over alleged looting of 6.7 billion naira – Blueprint Newspapers Limited

On Wednesday, the Ebonyi State branch of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) accused Governor David Umahi of looting the state treasury to pay the costs of the appeals court.

Umahi had engaged the services of 18 Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN) to rule on the judgment of Federal High Court Judge Inyang Ekwo, with Abuja sacking him, his deputy and APC lawmakers.

The party, in a petition to the Economic and Financial Commission (EFCC) a copy of which has been circulated online, claimed that the governor had withdrawn more than 6 billion naira in the last week.

The petition was signed by Nkemakolam Okoro of Dynamic Option Chambers, who claimed to be the lawyer for the Ebonyi State branch of the PDP.

The attorney in the petition claimed that said amount was allegedly withdrawn by the governor to fund his appeal against the court’s decision that removed him from office.

According to the lawyer, the money would be used to pay the Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN) who the governor has hired to defend him, his deputy and lawmakers beleaguered over the issue.

He further alleged that the funds were withdrawn from state accounts domiciled in around nine commercial banks within a week.

The PDP therefore urged the EFCC to prevent the governor from continuing to plunder the public treasury.

The claims, however, could not be independently verified.

Reacting through the State Information and Guidance Commissioner, Uchenna Orji, Governor Umahi denied the allegations.

In a statement signed by the commissioner, he described the allegations as “irresponsibly false and baseless, cruel and malicious”.

The statement said, “The entire content of the trending petition to the EFCC is absolutely and irresponsibly false, malicious and nothing but a series of the politically calculated attempt by the PDP and the desperadoes to harm the Governor’s hard-earned reputation and the integrity of state government.

“The petitioners want to use the allegations to attack the credibility of the outcome of the waivers from all the institutions involved to ensure that justice is served in all the legal actions mounted by the PDP to distract the ever-performing administration of Governor Umahi, especially for cause him distractions in his intention to run for president in 2023.

“We rebuke the allegations of ‘looting of Ebonyi State government money’ made by the People’s Democratic Party, PDP against our transparent administration as satanic blackmail that has no iota of truth, desperately calculated to attract the attention of the gullible and sully the reputation of the Governor of the State and that we will not hesitate to invoke legal actions to bring the petitioners to justice.

“Ebonyi State government expenditures are in the public domain, and there is no doubt that Governor Umahi’s administration has been judged as one of the most transparent, judicious, prudent and corruption-free administrations in Nigeria.”

Orji said the state government had asked the state House of Assembly to waive his immunity and to invite the EFCC to, within 30 days, investigate all issues regarding the allegations contained in PDP’s petition and any other allegations of financial impropriety raised by them.