A 9-man committee set up by Ebonyi state House of Assembly to probe financial dealings of the 13 local government Chairmen and Development Centre Coordinators have asked the Speaker of the House to issue warrant of arrest against three Council bosses for failing to honour the invitation of the committee.
The Chairman of the committee and Deputy Speaker, Hon. Odefa Obasi Odefa representing Onicha-east state constituency made the request while presenting the interim report of the committee during the Tuesday plenary of the House.
The Chairman of the committee explained that it was necessary to arrest the trio to serve as deterrent to others adding that it would send a warning signal that nobody could drag the House to disrepute.
The affected trios are Ezza south Local government council chairman, Mr. Edwin Okeh, Chaka Nweze of Ohaozara Local government Council and their Afikpo north counterpart, Chief Egwu Chima.
Odefa further explained that the committee has covered Afikpo south, Ivo, Ohaozara, Ezza south and Onicha Local Government councils and what was common in them was huge withdrawal from the Councils’ Bank accounts and there was no adherence to E-payment.
He told the House that those who ordinarily have no business holding Councils’ fund were the ones assigned to withdraw cash running into millions thereby erroneously performing the duties of the cashiers.
He added that the committee found that HODs of works were the major culprits who sometimes withdraw cash using their names and sometimes using the names of the Treasurers; pointing out that in some cases the councils pay money into private accounts for no reason.
“We equally found that within the 9th and 10th of April,2015, at the eve of the House of Assembly and Governorship elections a huge sum of money was withdrawn in virtually all the accounts of the LGAs,” Odefa added.
He however brought before the House for commendation for what the committee termed the courage and wisdom of Ezza south Treasurer, Mr. Vincent Nweke who was purportedly sacked by the immediate past administration for refusing to part with the N14m (fourteen million naira) belonging to the people of the Council, Odefa recalled that the 4th Assembly had reinstated the said Treasurer.
“This Treasurer was asked to sign a cheque of 14m naira to be used to sponsor a court case involving the Council when in the real sense, there was no case involving the council, but as an upright person, he refused to compromise. Even when we invited the Legislators of the Council, they confirmed there was no such case involving the council,” he stated.