By: Simeon Nwakaudu
The immediate past Governor of Rivers State, Mr Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi is living in an illusory world if he thinks that high level propaganda will stop the Rivers State Government under the leadership of Governor Wike from ensuring that he accounts for his locust years in government.
The issue of the unconscionable looting of the treasury of the Rivers State Government by the immediate past Governor of Rivers State has gone beyond the issuance of press statements. This is the time for the former governor to account.
It is easy to sit in an office, concoct insults against the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, contact media consultants and publish same prominently across different platforms. However, it is extremely difficult for Amaechi to address the fundamental issues of fraud levelled against him.
The level of fraud that the former Rivers State Governor masterminded is mind-boggling. He raped the coffers of the state, hijacked the media accountability process through sponsorship of endless propaganda and left Rivers State desolate.
Under Amaechi, several fraudulent acts were committed and in most instances aimed at siphoning funds for the sponsorship of the APC at all levels. On several occasions, different APC governors and defeated governorship candidates publicly acknowledged that Amaechi funded their campaigns. The most recent was at his 52nd Birthday.
Amaechi’s administration established a Reserve Fund in 2008 during the era of Excess Crude. This was the period when the state got between N25billion and N30billion monthly. That fund established through a law of the Rivers State House of Assembly made it compulsory for the State Governmemt to save N1billion monthly from the then regular oil windfall. Between 2008 and 2014, over N76billion was deposited in the account.
After these funds were saved, the Amaechi administration stripped the state of the benefits of these savings. Rather than allow the next administration use these funds for take off, Amaechi , conniving with members of his faction of the Rivers State House of Assembly, sat in Government House Port Harcourt, amended the law establishing the Rivers Reserve Fund and siphoned the monies.
These two reports in 2014 tell the story better: “https://www.google.com.ng/amp/www.vanguardngr.com/2014/02/17-pro-amaechi-lawmakers-grant-govt-access-n30bn-reserve-funds/amp/ and
http://dailypost.ng/2014/10/20/rivers-assembly-grants-amaechis-request-withdraw-n19bn-reserved-fund/ “. These funds were withdrawn at the height of the funding of APC activities. It is a known fact that Rivers funds provided by Amaechi played key roles in the setting up of APC.
One incontrovertible case of corruption against Amaechi is the Karibi Whyte Hospital. In a high profile flag off of the construction of that hospital, Amaechi announced that he paid Clinotech Diagnostics and Pharmaceuticals of Canada $39million (N13.6billion) for the project.
Amaechi’s words at the flag off: “We have paid our own money, I hope Clinotech has paid its own money . Because we have paid our own money into that account. Our money is $39million. “
Towards the end of his ill-fated administration, Amaechi in a televised interview further admitted making payments for work not done. He told the interviewer: “That is where we have a problem. I stopped the hospital when I found out that the man who came is a fraudster. I spent N3billion and all we had was a foundation . Don’t forget I am human, I learn on the Job.”
Watch Amaechi admit on video that he paid $39million for the non-existent Justice Karibi Whyte Mega Specialist Hospital: ” https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1492254524169726&id=378378918890631.”
The non-existent Justice Karibi Whyte Mega Specialist Hospital was one of the main points wherein Amaechi was indicted by the Justice Omereji Commission of Inquiry.
On this point all parties agree. This is not an issue that is open to needless debates.
This is Governor Wike’s take on the matter:
“Is it not true that we paid $39million for Karibi Whyte Hospital? Is it not true that there is no Karibi Whyte Hospital? Does anyone need to forge a document to say we paid $39million, while you as a governor came out tp say I have paid $39million.
Where is the hospital? Does somebody need to forge a document even when you have agreed that you paid $39million. Show us the hospital?”
Rather than sponsor media campaigns, Amaechi should muster the courage and take Nigerians to the location of the hospital. Or is Amaechi and his sponsored friends saying that the Rivers State Government should let $39million (N13.6Billion) go down the drain without bringing the culprits to book?
In several interviews, Amaechi agreed that he sold the state gas turbines. The Rivers APC has admitted same. The $309million (N108.1billion) that accrued; developed wings. At the time Amaechi left office, only $204,000 (Two Hundred and Four Thousand Dollars) was left in the State Government’s Account. Is Amaechi saying that the Rivers State Government should allow him escape with a whopping N108billion gotten from the sale of Rivers assets, simply because he has the backing of the powers that be?
The Rivers State Commission of Inquiry into the sale of Valued State Assets and other related matters headed by Justice George Omereji received 442 exhibits, 27 memoranda while 25 witnesses testified before it.
The Judicial Commission of Inquiry indicted the former governor and confirmed that N53billion was diverted by Amaechi and his officials.
The time has come for Amaechi to face the reality staring him in the face. Propaganda is no longer valuable in this matter. Let him listen to Governor Wike and brief his lawyers to prepare his defence. As beneficiaries of Amaechi’s disservice to Rivers people, nobody expects the government in power to prosecute him. Nigerians know the modus operandi of the anti-corruption agencies. The security services help Amaechi to steal mandate at Novotel.
Special Assistant to the Rivers State Governor, Electronic Media.