Group wants ex-Abia commissioner, Oriaku, investigated for fraud
Stakeholders in Abia North Senatorial District have called on the Governor Okezie Ikpeazu-led government to probe the activities of his ex-finance commissioner, Mr. Obinna Oriaku.
The call followed some unfounded and illogical allegations against the state and its treasury credited to the former commissioner of finance, Oriaku in a publication.
In the said publication, Oriaku was quoted to have said how he collected N1.6 million to attend FAAC disbursement monthly for 4 years; how Abia House of Assembly receives the sum of 140 million naira as overhead expenditures as against the standard elsewhere; how each member of Abia House of Assembly bagged and pocketed about N10 million monthly and other sundry claims.
But, reacting to the claims, in a statement made available to newsmen on Tuesday, the stakeholders who spoke under the aegis of Abia North Stakeholders Assembly (ANSA), accused Oriaku of sanctioning all the cash disbursements when he was the commissioner of finance from 2015 to 2019.
In the statement signed by Chief Goodluck Ibem and Hon. Sunday Chukwu, president general and secretary general respectively, the group, said the claims by Oriaku leaves more questions than answers for him.
“If Obinna Oriaku is or was financially prudent and disciplined a cause he now champions, why did he wait till he saw and sat out his tenure as Commissioner before coming up with his weighty claims? Was it for indigent Abians he spoke or because of a sinister political plot, machination and motive yet to be known that he now found use of his tongue and voice?”, the statement queried.
It revealed that before Oriaku became the Commissioner of Finance in the state, he was struggling as a banker with no reasonable investments, properties or personal effects, “but during and after his tenure as Commissioner of Finance, he erected a big duplex worth over N500 million in Enugu State, built a mansion in his home town of Isiala Ngwa worth over N700 million naira, laundered huge amount of money which he diverted to his children’s accounts and paid huge amount of money into his personal companies’ accounts which he used as fronts to siphon the state’s finances.
“In the publication, Oriaku admitted that Internally Generated Revenue, IGR, ends up in “private pockets”, whereas the only approved firm that still collects and administers IGR in Abia State Teaching Hospital and other state government agencies is owned by Obinna Oriaku.
“He approved his personal company as the only company that collects state revenue on behalf of the state which is totally against due process. So it is evidently clear that the “private pockets” in question here are Oriaku’s personal pocket(s). Abians should hold him responsible for any act of funds mismanagement when he was Commissioner of Finance in the state”, the statement reads in part.
“Integrity means what you do when no one is watching. Oriaku stole our collective resources when no one was watching and now comes before the public after so many years he left office to tell us lies to feed his ego and satisfy his selfish ambition and parochial purpose”.
The statement also accused Oriaku of making up the claims and attacking his former allies because of his personal convinction that “they will not endorse him in his gubernatorial ambition after discovering how he looted the state dry as Commissioner in charge of the state finances, revenues and commonwealth.
“It is a common knowledge which does not beat a discerning and an average mind that it is the Commissioner of Finance that goes to Abuja to collect the state’s allocation which Oriaku publicly admitted equally. So who is to be blamed for any form of mismanagement if not the man in charge of disbursements it being clear that governors are hardly signatories to funds and release of same?”, the statement read.
The group therefore demanded that the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, EFCC, and Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, expedite the prosecution of Obinna Oriaku to account for his stewardship as Commissioner of Finance over the years he was in control of the state’s exchequer.
While calling on Abians to disregard the statements by Oriaku who is disgruntled for being relieved of his duties when his incompetences and inadequacies were discovered, the group urged them to support the dynamic governor of Abia state, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu and also the Speaker of Abia House of Assembly, Right Honourable Chinedum Orji who it claimed had not faltered in representing well his constituency.