N17bn alleged bank withdrawals: Govt replies PDP


.Urges incoming administration to eschew propaganda
.Debunks removing 300 transformers to Ogboko
By EDISON Okereke
The Imo State Government on Friday in Owerri punctured the Peoples Democratic Party’s accusation that it hastily withdrew a whopping N17billion from Government’s coffers in the wake of the party’s electoral victory in the state, describing the accusation as raising the alarm.
The Government also described as bunkum the point that it backdated its sale of damaged vehicles to the public. Just as it equally denied it removed up to three hundred (300) electric transformers belonging to the state to governor Rochas Okorocha’s home town, Ogboko.
It, however, disclosed that the sale of the old automobiles amounted to N6million which it said was paid before the vehicles and items were released to the auctioneers.
The Government urged the PDP to rather concentrate on its election promises to the people of the state rather than making baseless, phantom accusations.
Addressing journalists at the Cabinet Office over these things, the Secretary to the Government (SGI), Engr. Mark Uchendu, a Knight of the Church, explained the need to always put things in their proper perspectives instead of brewing propaganda.
He took a swipe at the PDP scribe, Ray Emeaña whom he accused of stirring a hornet’s nest to attract cheap attention to himself from the governor-elect, chief Emeka Ihedioha.
As Uchendu put it, “One of the issues bothering the Government is what the PDP secretary called auctioning of Government’s property. From what I gathered from the media reports he gave journalists a letter which he said was backdated.
“I want to tell you there is no truth in this. The issue of auctioning started in 2016 and ended in 2018, and my predecessor, sir George Eche was the one that started it. He wrote a letter on the 2nd of November 2016 requesting all ministries to submit their under serviceable items and vehicles.
“By the time I took office as secretary of Government of Imo State there was already a list of evaluated items…
“On the disposal of unserviceable vehicles and items, the memo was sent to His Excellency and he approved it. And we engaged auctioneers in December. And that is the letter the PDP showed the press.
“And obviously speaking, these items were disposed off from that December till January and February by the two auctioneers we engaged. There was no shady deal on it.
“We also went ahead to publish in Daily Nigerian Horn (newspaper) of Friday, November 23, 2018, page 17, after we got an approval … ( He made the advert available to journalists).
“I couldn’t have manufactured this newspaper. The editor is here. We paid for it and the advert was carried inviting auctioneers to come. And by the way we evaluated them we chose the two of them. The process was duly done. And I am surprised that the secretary of a party like PDP would dwell on this falsehood to tarnish the image of Government.
“I don’t think this time this is what Imo needs. People should be able to crosscheck their information. So for obvious reasons this is not the time to politick. It is governance period. If somebody thinks the only way to warm himself to the minds of the Governor-elect is to dish out tissues of lies I don’t think that person is competent enough to be a secretary of a party….,”
Continuing, Uchendu stated, “Second one is the issue of N17bn that is said to have been withdrawn in three days! I doubt where this information is coming from. You know it is practically impossible in this era for somebody to withdraw N1billion without the financial institutions getting the alert. In fact you cannot do it –to withdraw cash of N17bn! From where? Which bank? Since I came here (I assumed office) the salary wage bill of both the local governments and the state is about N4.5bn. And I know that we don’t get more than N3bn and N3.5bn every month… I don’t know how somebody will be saving with all the projects His Excellency is doing in the state here, then he will be saving to get N17bn to withdraw. I don’t think there is any truth in that.
“I understand there is the other story of three hundred transformers. There is nothing like 300 transformers that were purchased in this administration which I am aware of. What we had was sixty -three transformers and out of them nineteen was given to Ohaji/Egbema and Oguta –various communities because the purchase was done through ISOPADEC funds. The remaining ones were shared to the local governments. Some local governments got three, some got four, some got five.
“So it is malicious for anybody to say that we bought 300 transformers and took them to Ogboko to be resold or what? I do think we should be fair in our stories. At this point Imo needs the truth. Elections are over. So it is not a period for propaganda to reach the hearts of the people.
” I believe those who are coming into government must come with a sincere purpose. At this point PDP should be telling us what it plans to do, not feeding the public with falsehood.” the former commissioner for Public Utilities stated.

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