22 May 2019

Nigeria: I Won't Join Issues With EFCC, Says Okorocha

Owerri — Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State has said that he will not join issues with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for investigating his financial transactions in the state. He said the commission is empowered to do its job, including probing the appropriation of the bailout funds released to the state by the Federal Government.

In a statement yesterday, the governor, through his Chief Press Secretary, Sam Onwuemeodo, commended the EFCC boss, Ibrahim Magu, for doing great job in the commission but warned that he should not allow what he described as 'undue infiltration.' Okorocha, however, expressed worry that with the way his investigation was being publicised, there are reasons to believe that external forces are behind it.

The governor said that through out his eight years in office he had exercised high sense of prudence to achieve the much he did in the state. The statement read: "Mr. Imam holding his own press conference on Okorocha on Friday, May 17, 2019 in Enugu and the Chairman of the commission himself, Alhaji Magu, holding his own press conference also on Okorocha, on Monday, May 20, 2019, and only two days after, raises genuine concern.

"And has also added fillip to the governor's earlier worry that those behind the drama over his Certificate of Return have not gone to sleep but have continued to spread their dragnets or tentacles."If you ask us, we won't join issues with the EFCC as an institution and with Alhaji Magu as an individual. Investigating individuals, governments, institutions and so on is part of the commission's own rules of engagement and nobody should prevent them or begrudge them for doing that. We only pray that the commission should not allow undue infiltration."

"Good enough, both Alhaji Magu and Mr. Imam never accused the governor of mismanagement or diversion, looking at the contents of their press conferences. They confirmed that the commission is in custody of the money. Out of the N8 billion they quoted, they also confirmed that N7.9 billion is what they blocked. Then, what is Owelle's case? And the governor is not owing salary.

"Since investigation is still on, perhaps, at the end of it, the truth will become clearer, especially when the incident happened long before the 2019 elections. And one could not have bought votes in the vacuum. Ultimately, vote-buying must be on the election day and perhaps, at the polling units where the voters were expected to be.

"Alhaji Magu is doing a good job as the head of the EFCC but he should keep the 5th Columnists at arms length. He should not eat with them even with the longest spoon."

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