From Chris Anucha,
THE war of words between the supporters of Rivers State governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, and his predecessor and Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, resumed at the weekend.
At one end of the battleline was the Commissioner for Information and Communication, Dr Austin Tam-George, who threw the first punch, as he accused Amaechi of receiving over N3 trillion in eight years as governor, and “left the most abandoned projects in the history of Rivers State, since 1967.”
At the other end was the State Publicity Secretary of All Progressive Congress (APC) Mr. Chris Finebone.
Through a press statement personally signed by him and entitled: “EFCC should operate within the law,” Tam-George had reacted to a newspaper publication in which it was alleged that one “Mr. Kingsley Fubara” said to be a Director of Finance and Administration, in the Rivers State Government House, made repeated withdrawals from the Central Bank of Nigeria and Zenith Bank, to the tune of N11billion Naira.
According to the report, the “suspicious withdrawals”, on behalf of the Rivers State government were made between December 2015 and February 2016.
But in his reaction, the Commissioner denied the allegation, and described the newspaper publication
as fabricated and irresponsible.
“The Rivers State government has no record of any staff known as Kingsley Fubara. This must be a fictional character, created by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the newspaper to embarrass the state government and deceive the public,” he said.
The publication had also indicated that the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) had directed the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to probe the alleged withdrawals.
Tam-George said: “By law, the Rivers State government is accountable to the Rivers State House of Assembly and the people of Rivers State, not to the Attorney General of the Federation. This is a totally fictitious report, typically orchestrated by the APC and its media allies. But the story raises fundamental questions about the moral horror of an anti-graft agency that is now openly partisan in all its intentions and actions.”
“There is universal concern that the EFCC is playing an extremely corrosive role in the current political dispensation. Rather than fight corruption in a professional and dispassionate manner, the EFCC behaves shamelessly, like an integral organ of the APC.
An anti-graft Commission that targets only opposition politicians and critics of the failed policies of the APC government is a national embarrassment.”
“Has the EFCC ever heard of one Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, the former governor of Rivers State and current Minister of Transport? Despite receiving over N3 trillion in eight years as gover
nor, Amaechi left the most abandoned projects in the history of Rivers State, since 1967. Several petitions against Amaechi, supported by sworn affidavits, have all been summarily ignored by the EFCC.”
But in a swift reaction, Finebone described the allegation by Tam- George as a “diversion from looming EFCC investigation.”
Finebone, in a statement issued in Port Harcourt yesterday, said: “The party sadly notes that the Rivers State government and the PDP in Rivers State, have once again, resorted to their old choreograph of indulging in wild and baseless accusations, as a means of diverting attention whenever the noose is tightening on the inglorious regime of Gov. Nyesom Wike, who climbed on the blood of innocent citizens to power as governor.
“The recent reported invitation to certain companies and persons, by the Rivers State Secondary School Board, on alleged monies collected for renovation of secondary schools in Rivers State, by the last administration under Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi is nothing more than the old tired refrain by the Wike administration and the PDP, to divert attention from the widely reported decision by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to probe an obvious humongous fraud surrounding the unlawful withdrawal of N11 billion from the coffers of the Rivers State government by Governor Nyesom Wike, through the Government House Director of Finance and Administration (DFA), one Mr. Kingsley Fubara between October 2015 and February 2016.”