The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission says it froze N 5 bn funds belonging to the Imo State Government because Governor Rochas Okorocha was spending too much money in a suspicious manner during the general elections.
The EFCC further stated that N 8 bn Paris Club loan refunded to the state for the payment of salaries was mismanaged by Okorocha .
The EFCC’ s Zonal Head for South – East , Usman Imam , said this during a chat with journalists .
Imam said their timely intervention saved the state over N 5 bn that would have been deployed in vote buying by the Okorocha ’ s administration during the last elections.
The EFCC director said about N 8 bn from the Paris Club Refund bailout meant for payment of workers ’ salaries was kept by the government , only to begin spending it frivolously on the eve of the elections.
He said , “ About N 7 . 9 bn is what had been blocked , although with pressure , subsequently , about N 2 . 5 bn was released for salaries . On the whole , we have over N 5 bn of those funds blocked ; we are following up to see what actually happened .
“ Honestly, what we discovered was that within two days , N 700 m was withdrawn in cash; N 200 m on the first day and N 500 m on the second day and all these monies were disbursed in a manner that was honestly unpalatable .
“ Distribution to school teachers ; I don’ t know, schools that you were not funding and you woke up on the eve of the election and withdrew N 500 m cash and start distributing N 1000 each or so to teachers . Whatever that means , I don’ t know .
“ When we came in , we were able to save about seventy something million of the funds that we discovered were not disbursed , we also blocked it . People are still answering questions as to who asked them to move those monies , monies that were blocked at the banks . ”
Imam said it was unfortunate the funds in question were meant for the payment of salaries and pensions which remained unpaid.
He said hopefully when Emeka Ihedioha resumes office , the funds would be put to better use .
Imam added , “ The sad story about this was that these monies were the intervention funds ; the bailout funds that the Federal Government released to states to pay salaries when they were having problems paying salaries .
“ They didn’ t utilise that money to pay the salaries ; they warehoused it and kept it until the election period , they started attempting to draw down the money . Whatever happens , we have saved over N 5 bn of that money, as we talk, two weeks to handover . Probably , the next government would have that money to use it better . There are a lot of other general investigations going on in Imo right now . ”
The EFCC had arrested the Accountant – General of Imo State, Uzoho Casmir , for allegedly helping Okorocha , to launder N 1 . 05bn for the governorship and assembly elections.
Okorocha , who is a member of the All Progressives Congress , supported his son – in- law , Uche Nwosu , of the Action Alliance against the governorship candidate of the APC , Senator Hope Uzodinma.
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