Chijioke Agwu, Abakaliki
Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi, yesterday inaugurated a judicial commission of inquiry to investigate the disbursement and alleged misappropriation of N2 billion Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) agriculture loan in the state by the former secretary to the government (SSG), Bernard Odoh, in 2016.
This is just as the former state scribe said he has petitioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate the committee on the disbursement of the funds, stressing that he had no confidence in the judicial panel.
Daily Sun recalled that the state government had, in 2016, set up an executive council committee, headed by the former SSG for the disbursement of the N2 billion CBN agriculture scheme loan.
But, recently Governor Umahi alleged that the funds were misappropriated by the chairman of the committee while the intended beneficiaries were schemed out, adding that there was need to probe the committee and recover the funds.
Speaking during the inauguration of the seven-man judicial commission of inquiry, Governor Umahi said the action was not aimed at witch hunting anyone but to investigate and recover the missing funds.
The commission, which is being chaired by Justice Chris Eze, is also mandated to investigate financial supports released by the CBN to the state within the time frame.
The governor further noted that other funds that would be investigated by the commission include, bailout funds, budget support, infrastructure support and Paris Club refunds to the state.
He said: “Do not witch-hunt anybody. This commission is not to witch-hunt anybody. I urge the panel to call a spade, a spade, so if anybody is afraid of the commission, the person should not be afraid.
“We would not hesitate to wave his immunity to appear before the commission and give explanation to all the questions that the commission would put across to him.”
In his reaction, Odoh said he had no confidence that the panel will do a fair job, claiming that the members were all loyalists of the governor.
Odoh said he had, instead, petitioned the EFCC to investigate the disbursement of the funds.
He said the governor move is a direct affront on the fight against corruption as championed by President Muhammadu Buhari and called for urgent commencement of a thorough investigation of members of Ebonyi State Executive Council Committee on the N2 billion CBN agriculture loan, including himself.