- To refund N53.9bn illegally withdrawn from the state’s account
- To account for N3bn drawn from state’s Agric loan scheme
- Used proxies to buy up Rivers State’s assets
- Faces prosecution
Ex-Governor of Rivers state and ministerial nominee, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi has been severally indicted by the Judicial Commission of Inquiry on the investigation of the Sale of Valued Assets of the State and other related matters.
Set up under the chairmanship of Honourable Justice George Otakpo Omereji, June 18, 2015, by the current state government, the Commission comprising seven members was mandated to among several others, ascertain the total accrued sum of money from the mandatory monthly contribution of One Billion Naira by the Rivers State Government into the Rivers State Reserve Fund, pursuant to the Rivers State Reserve Fund Law No.2 of 2008.
It was also to probe issues affecting the judicious application of the state’s Agricultural Loan Scheme and monies accruing there from as well as same matters affecting the various gas turbines projects under the Amaechi administration.
Furthermore, the Judicial Commission reported that it found out that in most of the transactions, relevant procedures were breached while officers and departments of government that ought to be in the picture were sidelined.
In accepting the Commission’s report which indicted the former governor, Amaechi alongside some of his principal appointees are to account for various sums of money running into billions of naira while in some cases, the Attorney General of the state is to take appropriate steps to recover the missing funds from all officials indicted as well as apply legal measures to prosecute those so recommended by the Commission and accepted by the government.
For instance, on the N53.9billion refund, the Commission reported thus:
• Based on the Rivers State Reserve Fund (Amendment) Law No. 1 of 2014, the administration of Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi withdrew the sum of N53,936,000,000.00 between February 2014 and January 2015 leaving a balance ofN1,276,389,208.70.
. Finds that in the process of these withdrawals the government failed to attach the list of approve items of expenditure until FBN Trustees protested the non compliance with the provisions of the law.
. Finds as a fact that the withdrawal of N30billion on 13/2/2014 was illegal and unlawful since there was no Reserved Fund (Amendment) Law in existence at the time the House of Assembly approved the withdrawal.
. That the last attempt made by the Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi administration to withdraw the sum of N1billion was frustrated by FBN Trustees which insisted that the request and resolution of the Rivers State House of Assembly did not comply with the law.
On the much celebrated Monorail project which the Commission described as failed, it indicted Amaechi and others and recommended the refund of government’s monies that were allegedly sunk into it without result.
“The Commission finds that the Monorail project was originally conceived as a Public Private Partnership (PPP) between the Rivers State Government and TSI Limited, with an agreement to incorporate a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPY) known as Rivers Monorail Company Limited. By the agreement, the Rivers State government was to invest 20% equity in the total cost of the project, while TSI Limited was to invest 80% in the project,” the report stated.
“The Commission further finds that while Rivers State government paid its agreed 20% equity, and paid an additional sum of Nl, OOO,OOO,OOO.OO towards the execution of the project, TSI Limited on the other hand, defaulted in contributing its own equity but curiously retained management control of the Special Purpose Vehicle for the project Rivers State Monorail Company Limited after the Rivers State government has invested a whooping sum ofN35,108,316,295.65 into the project, out of which Nll, 000,000,000.00 was paid to Rivers State Monorail Company Limited which was solely managed by TSI Limited, represented by Brigadier General Anthony Ukpo,” it added.
It therefore recommended the recovery of the total sum ofN35,I 08,316,295.65 from Brigadier-General Anthony Ukpo, TSI Limited, former Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, and George Tolofari for being the masterminds behind the failed Monorail project.
“Government accepts this recommendation, and further directs the Office of the Honourable Attorney-General & Commissioner for Justice to take appropriate steps for the recovery of the above sum of money from all who were concerned with the failed project,” the White Paper stated.
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