BY GREG IWU
The rift between Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma, and his predecessor, Emeka Ihedioha may get messier in the days to come.
The Uzodinma administration had fired the first salvo at Ihedioha, when the Imo State Commissioner of Information, Hon Declan Emelumba said the State government had approved the request of the Auditor General for local Governments and Chieftaincy Affairs, to commence necessary steps to recover N19.63 billion allegedly siphoned from the State-Local Government Joint Accounts Allocation Committee (JAAC), through the Bureau for Local government and Chieftaincy Affairs (BLGCA), by the sacked government of Emeka Ihedioha, in seven months in office.
According to the Commissioner, the monies were allegedly siphoned either for spurious and phony projects, projects/contracts not executed, and or through huge cash withdrawals for undisclosed purposes.
Emelumba, said the misappropriated funds was discovered during a routine audit of the accounts and records of JAAC with the Bureau for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs by the Local Government Auditor General for the fiscal year ended 31/12/2019.
Aides of the former Governor denied the allegations but the Uzodinma administration is sa bent on “getting to the root of the matter”
Mr. Chibuike Onyeukwu, Chief Press Secretary to Ihedioha, said the allegations are spurious and advised Governor Uzodinma to go for tutorials on good governance from his predecessor.
“These allegations are spurious because 100 days in office for the Uzodinma administration is approaching and because they have nothing to offer, they want to distract Imo people” he told My Radio FM.
But officials of the present government are not relenting in their push to probe the former Governor.
Again, the Information Commissioner, Emelumba told Vanguard that the former Governor did not care a hoot about the people by choosing to ride in a car worth N187 million naria.
“The car is equipped like Airforec one of the United States. It has a master bedroom, conference room, bar and other facilities. It is the type of car that only a monarch, an emperor with imperial appetite will want to use” he said
This newspaper also gathered that as part of plans to advance the onslaught on the former Governor, there is pressure on some Chairmen of Interim Management Committees, IMC who served in the administration of former Governor Emeka Ihedioha.
The reason for the pressure, this newspaper was told, has to do with the alleged N19.63 billion naria the Uzodinma administration claimed were funds from the local governments which the outgone Ihedioha administration mismanaged.
The source said “Some of the outgone Chairmen will be approached and asked to give details of how LGA funds were diverted and I can tell you, there will be willing ones who are ready to shift allegiance to Uzodinma by giving out such details.
“The same manner PDP House of Assembly members dumped Ihedioha and switched allegiance to Uzodinma, is the same way some of the IMC Chairmen, will sing against their former boss. Interesting days are ahead” he said