From Okey Sampson, Umuahia
The former Commissioner for Finance (2015-2019) Obinna Oriaku has said his invitation and that of other officials last week by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), may liberate Abia State.
The Enugu Zonal office of the EFCC has reportedly invited two former Abia State Commissioners and others for questioning.
In a letter dated May 25, 2021 and signed by Oshodi Johnson, the Zonal Head of the Agency Southeast zone, gave the names of Mr. Philip Nto and Mr. Obinna Oriaku who served as Commissioners of Finance and Economic Development in 2014 and 2015 to 2019 respectively in the state.
The letter with serial No. CR.3000/EFCC/ENZ/CMIP/TA/352-2021/VOL.15/94, which was addressed to the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) of Abia State, Chris Ezem, said it was imperative the two commissioners were invited to make certain clarifications regarding some financial transactions in the state within the period of their stay in office.
Johnson in the letter said the request to have the commissioners in their office was in pursuant to section 38(1) and 2 of the EFCC (establishment) Act, 2004.
In a statement however, one of the former finance commissioners, Oriaku while confirming the EFCC invitation disclosed that it was extended to him by the Secretary to the State Government.
He said the invitation was sequel to a petition written by one Dr. Murice Walton of Mauritz Walton Nigeria Limited, alleging that the state government deliberately held back their consultance fee of the N22bn Paris Club payment since 2017.
According to Oriaku, “I want to make it clear that EFCC invitation is not a crime and cannot be misconstrued as a sentence for crime”.
Oriaku added that, “This may be an opportunity to liberate Abia from the claws of the kleptomaniac family that has refused to learn from history .
“By next (this) week, others from the former Accountant general, Chief GC Onyendilefu to former Commissioner for finance Dr Nto, Mr Sampson Orji , former HAG and the family of Sen TA Oji should be ready for same EFCC visit .Our liberation may start from here”, the former Commissioner said.