A NEW wave of impeachment saga now sweeps through Imo State, following a new demand on the lawmakers to impeach Governor Rochas Okorocha.
Coordinator of Save Imo, Nze Ebubagu Ekenulo, Saturday submitted a letter to the House of Assembly asking the 27-member Assembly to commence impeachment process against the governor for gross abuse of office.
This follows Saturday’s inauguration, in Owerri, of a seven-man panel, recently set up to investigate allegations of “gross misconduct and bribery scandal” against the Imo State Deputy Governor, Mr. Jude Agbaso.
The inauguration, which was conducted by High Court Judge, Goddy Ahanihu, commenced at 10.30 am, and was concluded in about one hour.
But Ekenulo, who addressed journalists, at the weekend, said the move to instigate impeachment process against Okorocha was to save the state from cataclysm.
The letter titled, “Without Prejudice, Petition Against Governor Rochas Okorocha OON, A Call for His Immediate Impeachment for Abuse of Office, Diversion of Government Revenue and other offences”, and signed by Ekenulo, urged the House to commence the impeachment process without delay.
The letter, which was addressed to the Speaker of the Assembly, alleges that the governor has plunged the state into financial recklessness more than any other official of government.
The letter was supported by as sworn affidavit from the state High Court, dated March 20, 2013 to substantiate the allegations against the governor.
Ekenulo threatened to sue the Assembly if it failed to carry out the process, just as they did in the case of the deputy governor, Agbaso.
In the 13 –point allegations against the governor, the group accused Okorocha of “unlawful use and diversion of government revenue and funds to establish his private university at Ogboko, contrary to his oath of office; concealment of revenue from proceeds of the concession of Imo Concorde Hotel, Adapalm, Imo Transport Company, Imo General Hospitals and conversion of proceeds of same to personal use contrary to his oath of office as governor; and approval of 100 percent upfront payment for road contract to JPROS International Company, without proper evidence of work completion contrary to the public procurement laws.”
Other allegations include:
• “unlawful use of the proceeds of the Imo State bond by diversion to unapproved projects contrary to the Imo State bond law;
• unlawful use of the proceeds of the bond to the tune of over N13.3 billion without appropriation;
• approval of award of contract to JPROS International without advertisement and other contract processes contrary to the public procurement laws;
• Unauthorized and unlawful use of local government allocation to the tune of N63 billion;
• Unauthorized borrowing of N63 billion naira from a financial market, contrary to the Imo state appropriation law;
• Approval for purchase of furniture to the tune of N4 billion for Government House without proper appropriation contrary to the Imo State appropriation law;
• Approval and award of road contracts without design, advertisement and public bidding, without due process;
• Concealment of government revenue and unlawful use of same without appropriation contrary to the constitution and his oath of office;
• Conversion of government assets and properties — Imo deputy governor’s lodge and two-storey building at directors quarters, Orlu Road to Lamonde Hotel, a company in which he has interest — contrary to his oath of office.
“The governor is not above the law, neither is he untouchable for breach of the law and the constitution,” according to the letter.
Absence of the Chief Judge of the State, Benjamin Njemanze, for the inauguration of the panel to probe allegations against Deputy Governor Agbaso, however, raised concerns over the integrity of the event that took place at the main Conference Hall of the Secretariat of the Council of Traditional Rulers, Owerri.
All members of the panel were present. The panel members include Justice Godwin Chukwuemeka Ihekire (rtd), as Chairman; James Gozie Nze, a lawyer, and Egeonu Chijioke Mere, another lawyer.
Others members are Elder Humphrey Ajaelu, Vin Onyeka, Cecilia Chinyere Oladimeji, and Oparaku Nwarie.