story by crossriverwatch admin
Obudu youths under the aegis of the Obudu Youths Vanguard Against Corruption (OYVAC), have petitioned the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to investigate the financial records of the Obudu Local Government Council alleging that the Chairman Hon. Emmanuel Ikwen has misappropriated in excess of N113m on phony projects.
The petition dated July 18th and signed by the President, Mr. Akpong James and Secretary Godwin Azauka and copied to the Inspector General of Police, Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) Zone 6, Calabar, Commissioner of Police, Cross River State, Speaker – Cross River State House of Assembly, Chairman – Public Accounts Committee, Cross River State House of Assembly, alleged amongst others things that:
The Chairman of Obudu Local Government contrary to his oath of office diverted the contract for the renovation of the paramount ruler’s palace which was originally awarded through due process to Sunny Bi Investment Ltd to one Mr. Bob John Undeshi for N3,000,000 (three million Naira) and personally shared in the proceed there from.
“We further wish to state categorically that the Chairman’s fraudulent transactions have so far been aided by a staff of his bank, First Bank of Nig Plc. Mr. Emmanuel Ikpe, the Secretary of the Council, Hon. Kenneth Allan and Special Assistant to the Chairman on Due Process, Mr. Emmanuel Aben”.
The said contract sum was paid in lump sum up front contrary to standard due process procedure which requires that every such contract be paid in three installments.
The Chairman of Obudu Local Government, Hon. Emmanuel Ikwen in the last quarter of 2011, awarded another outrageously bloated contract for the grading of a less than one kilometer access rural road leading to his compound for the sum of N15, 000,000 (fifteen million Naira) to Leophina Construction Company Ltd; a front company which he merely used to divert and appropriate to himself the bulk of the contract sum. The aforesaid contract neither went through due process nor any competitive bidding process contrary to the Due Process and Price Intelligence law of Cross River State.
For the month of March and April 2011, the chairman withdrew the sum of N19,300,000 (nineteen million, three hundred thousand Naira) for what he tagged as “security issues” even after allocating a paltry sum of N2,400,000 (two million, four hundred thousand Naira) for the same purpose which he also tagged, Security Vote.
Also in the Month of April 2011, the Chairman also expended the sum of N4, 000,000 (four million Naira) for the “Evacuation of Refuse”. This is the routine function of the Obudu Urban Development Authority. Consequently, the Obudu Local Government Council has no business whatsoever to carry out the said function.
The petition also accused the Chairman of incessant and unwarranted travels with some costing above N5,00,000 “even when he is sleeping in his house”. The petitioners also accused the chairman of diverting the funds meant for the payment of adult instructors and Hilltop Football Club into his personal account.
The Youth Vanguard also wants the anti-corruption agency to probe how the chairman spent N6, 000,000 on the fumigation of the council premises. N7, 670, 957 on the construction of non-existent Legislative quarters. N1, 220, 000 on the demarcation of the Ukwortung/Kutia boundary.
N10, 675,500 on Okorshie Fish Pond. N3, 000,000 on the renovation of legislative chambers and the construction of the Chairman’s official residence (1 unit of 4-bedroom flat) at N40,000, 000 (fourty million Naira) amongst other numerous projects.
The group said: “In view of the preceding facts, we humbly appeal that you use your good offices to cause a thorough investigation of these complaints of misappropriation of public funds against Hon. Emmanuel Ikwen and ensure that all monies collected by the chairman without proper account are remitted to Obudu Local Government treasury”.
A reliable source in the ICPC confirmed to crossriverwatch that a petition against the Chairman of the Local Government was received in their Abuja office on or about July 20th 2012. The source said the commission is investigating the allegations against the Chairman.
Crossriverwatch gathered that the police in Obudu had already invited Mr. Emmanuel Ikpe, a staff of First Bank Nig. Plc, Obudu Branch, one Mr. Earnest who is the H.O.D. Accounts at the council and an unnamed person for questioning over the petition. They are all said to have since been released on bail.
Several calls to the Local Government chairman’s two mobile telephone lines over a five day period were not picked.
But in a telephone interview with the Chief Press Secretary to the Chairman, Mr. Emmanuel Undie, he told crossriverwatch that: “my brother, I have only heard that there is a petition against the Chairman. I don’t know the details of the petition and it will be improper for me to react on a matter I don’t have sufficient information about. I have not been in office for sometime. I will need to get across to the Chairman to confirm before I can make an informed comment”
But a close ally of the Local Government Chairman who did not want to be named told crossriverwatch that: “honestly, the Chairman seem to be carried away by his new found position. Most of those allegations are all correct. For instance, the 4 bedroom flat, if you go there, you don’t need to be a quantity surveyor to know that the house did not cost anything near N40million. The demarcation in Kutia too was another sham. In fact, I work closely with the Chairman but I must confess that most of the things those people are talking about are true. Though the chairman keeps accusing a chieftain of the party in the Local Government and a former commissioner in the state as the cause of his problem, he has also done things that are questionable.”
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