From Henry Chukwurah, Abuja
Three senior officials of Imo State Government, including the principal secretary to Governor Rochas Okorocha, have been arrested by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for allegedly diverting part of the N2 billion bailout fund given to the state by the Federal Government for payment of salary arrears of the state’s civil servants.
Few months after assumption of office, President Muhammadu Buhari granted a bailout after most of the state governments complained of their inability to pay their workers due to cash crunch. The top government officials, who were picked from Owerri, are Dr. Obi Paschal Chigozie, principal secretary to the governor; Uzoho Casmir, director of finance and Iheoma Kenneth, treasurer.
According to the anti-graft agency, they were arrested after an investigation into the alleged diversion of the fund revealed that the cashier allegedly withdrew N456.532 million between September 3, 2015 and October 10, 2015 from Government House account domiciled in Zenith Bank.
The amount was, however, said to have been given to an aide of the Chief of Staff to the governor, after the approval and directive by Okorocha’s principal secretary.
Spokesman for the EFCC, Wilson Uwujare, said that the suspects would be charged to court “as soon as investigations are concluded.”