Account for N3bn ISPADEC fund, Irona tells Uzodimma

Irona

This may not be the best of time for Governor Hope Uzodinma as the agitation and demands for accountability continues to swell the ranks with each passing day.
The former deputy governor of Imo State, Rt. Hon Gerald Irona has taken the governor to the cleaners challenging the integrity of his administration over unaccounted N3bn Imo State Oil Producing Areas Commission (ISOPADEC) funds.
He made the allegation during a media chat with his media aide, Walter Duru, in which he denied the accusation levelled against him by the Imo Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Declan Emelumba that he bankrolled the protest action by ISOPADEC workers.
The workers had taken to the street last week protesting four months unpaid salary arrears by the government. The workers had alleged that the government has refused to pay them in spite of receiving the required allocation from the federal coffers wondering what the government is doing with their money.
Irona stated that in the last six months the statutory allocation of ISOPADEC amounting to about N3bn has been diverted by the Imo State government. The former deputy governor also alleged that various sums belonging to the agency in various accounts in the banks have been made away with.
According to him, the sum of N114m which Waltersmith Petroleum provided as its counterpart funding for Awara court area electrification project, lodged at the United Bank for Africa (UBA) account of the Commission was withdrawn by the state government and has remained unaccounted for.
It is the same story for another N200m of the Commissions funds at the same bank which took a flight to an unknown destination at the instance of the government.
The former legislator also alleged that there is a grand plot to siphon the state’s funds to set off a huge debt of 12m dollars personally incurred by the governor before he came to power. In his words, ”I don’t want to believe that Imo people’s money are being used to settle private debts.”
He expressed surprise that the Open Government Partnership and Public Procurement system introduced by former governor to capture the transactions of the government in a transparent manner was abandoned.
Said he, ‘no contract award during the Ihedioha era that was not discussed at the Exco unlike what obtains now under the so called shared prosperity government.”
The Oguta born politician further lamented that six months into the government of Uzodinma, ISOPADEC has no management team or board, a situation he described as a design to continue the diversion of the state’s resources.

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