THE immediate past governor of Rivers State, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, has dragged the Peoples Democratic Party in the state, its Chairman, Chief Felix Obuah, and two others to an Abuja High Court over allegations that he embezzled funds belonging to the state to the tune of $757 m (N80bn) while in office.
Amaechi said in a statement he signed and issued on Tuesday that he had also sued the state PDP and two others for alleging that he (Amaechi) operated a private foreign account where he lodged the said public funds.
Though, the former governor did not identify the two other persons he joined in his suit, Amaechi said the allegation had done a lot of harm to his person and reputation and demanded N300bn as damages.
Amaechi recalled that the state PDP on August 6, and August 21, 2015, alleged that he stole the sum of N80bn of Rivers money and stashed them in an account in his name in Bancorp Bank in Minnesota, United States of America.
The immediate past governor explained that ever since the said libelous publications by the PDP and Felix Obuah got to the general public, he had been “inundated, bombarded and confronted by several persons who expressed lack of respect, loss of faith in him and who no longer regarded him as trustworthy and now viewed him as a common criminal.”
“That he had been confronted by persons who offer him disrespect arising from the false accusations, even though he denied committing the several heinous offences which the PDP and Felix Obuah falsely and maliciously accuse him of committing.
“The PDP also alleged that Amaechi had embezzled millions of dollars of Rivers State money and stashed the money in other foreign accounts in his name, including in a bank in Switzerland. The PDP claimed that the various Amaechi foreign accounts were revealed and blown open by Christiane Amanpour of America’s Cable News Network (CNN).
“The PDP went further to claim that Bancorp Bank, Minnesota, had written to President Muhammadu Buhari that part of the funds was to purchase a house for Amaechi in America and that they (Bancorp Bank) intend to return the stolen funds to Nigeria.
“However, in this fresh suit filed before an Abuja High Court, FCT, Amaechi stated that each of the said malicious publications by the defendants (PDP, Felix Obuah and two others) are untrue, false, motivated by ill-will and without any foundations in truth whatsoever and further avers that the defendants made the said libelous publications after the PDP failed in the presidential election and with a view to rubbishing him in the eyes of right thinking members of the society and the persons to whom the said libelous publications have been made.”
He added that the PDP had claimed that the US-based bank had revealed to President Muhammadu Buhari that part of the money lodged therein were meant to purchase a house for him (ex-governor).
Amaechi had, however, declared in his statement of claims in the said suit that he did not steal the sum of N80bn belonging to the state and did not stash the said amount of money in Bancorp Bank in the United States of America or Switzerland.
Amaechi further declared, “The Bancorp Bank, Minnesota, United States, did not write and did not communicate with President Muhammadu Buhari over any said sum of $757m allegedly looted by him (Amaechi) that is kept with it and in Switzerland since no such money was ever looted by him.”
Amaechi noted that part of his worry is that the defendant (PDP, Obuah and two others) had further circulated the alleged malicious publications that exposed his person to ridicule, public odium, contempt and disparagement in the eyes of right thinking members of the society.
Describing the allegations against him as wild, Amaechi maintained that he served the state with distinction, initiated and completed numerous public projects and undertook other public infrastructure projects.
He also affirmed that he had never been convicted by any court with either stealing or embezzlement of public funds anywhere in Rivers State or Nigeria or anywhere in the world.