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The Rivers State Judicial Commission of Inquiry on Wednesday
submitted its report to the State Governor, Nyesom Wike, with an appeal
to him to recover stolen funds belonging to the people, including the sum
of N53 billion taken from the State Reserve Fund.
The commission was set up by Wike to investigate the sale of valued
assets belonging to the state by the Rotimi Amaechi administration.
Chairman of the commission, Justice George Omereji, suggested that the
state governor should swing into action and ensure that billions of Naira
belonging to the state stashed away in some places were returned while
those found culpable should be prosecuted.
Omereji, who spoke with newsmen after submitting the panel’s report,
disclosed that investigation had revealed that the immediate past
administration in the state had removed N53 billion from the N55 billion
left in the State Reserve Fund between 2014 and May 2015.
He explained that the commission could not find any project linked to
the withdrawal of the N53billion from the state reserve fund and added
that the money was shared among cronies of the past administration.
Describing the task given to the panel as enormous, Omereji also
disclosed that the immediate past administration could not actualise the
building of the Justice Karibi Whyte Hospital, even when a huge amount
of money had been paid to contractors for the project.
He said, “There was the sum of N55 billion in the State Reserve Fund.
Between 2014 and May 2015, they (immediate past administration) were
able to remove N53 billion and we found out that the money (N53
billion) was not used for the projects in the state. The money went to
individuals. From the papers submitted to us, we also found out that the
money was given to people they like.
“We went to the site of the Justice Karibi Whyte Hospital, we did not see
anything at all. When I told the project contractor to come with us
(panel) to the place, he said snakes would bite us.
“But I insisted that we should go there. Behold, by the time we went
inside, we did not see anything. The whole billions of Naira given to the
man cannot be accounted for. We have recommended that those found
culpable should refund the money. We even recommended that some
people should be prosecuted.
“I don’t want to tell you those that will be prosecuted. It is not good for
me to reveal the content of the recommendations now because we have
just submitted our report.”
Earlier, Omereji had informed the governor that 27 memoranda and 142
exhibits were received by the commission and added that 25 witness
testified before the panel.
“We hope that the government will act fast and by the time the
government looks into this report and act fast, it will be able to recover
billions that are still stashed in where they kept them.
“That money belongs to Rivers people and they should be recovered so
that we can use it for the people of Rivers State,” Omereji insisted.
He, however, thanked Wike for giving him and members of the panel the
opportunity to serve the state, promising to be available to serve
whenever the need arises.
Responding, the state governor vowed to implement the
recommendations of the Omereji-led panel and maintained that his
administration would not be intimidated by any person or group of
persons.
Source: PunchNg




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