Defection: PDP, Ebonyi govt bicker over alleged N6.7bn plunder

Ebonyi state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Wednesday, accused Governor David Umahi of plundering the state treasury in other to foot appeal court expenses.

Umahi had engaged services of 18 Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) to adjudicate on the judgement by Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja sacking him, his deputy and APC lawmakers.

The party, in a petition to the Economic and Financial Commission (EFCC) a copy of which was circulated online, claimed the governor has withdrawn over N6billionn in the past one week.

The petition was signed by Nkemakolam Okoro of Dynamic Option Chambers, who claimed to be the attorney to the Ebonyi state chapter of the PDP.

The lawyer in the petition claimed that the said amount allegedly withdrawn by the governor to fund his appeal to the court decision which sacked him from office.

According to the lawyer, the money is to be allegedly used to pay the Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) the governor hired to defend him, his deputy and the embattled lawmakers on the matter.

He further alleged that the funds were withdrawn from the state’s accounts domiciled in about nine commercial banks within a space of one week.

PDP thus urged the EFCC to stop the governor from further looting of the state’s treasury.

The claims could not however be independently verified.

Reacting through the state Commissioner for Information and State Orientation, Uchenna Orji, Governor Umahi denied the allegations.

In a statement signed by the commissioner, he described the allegations as “irresponsibly false and unfounded, cruel and malicious.”

The statement said: “The entirety of the content of the trending petition addressed to EFCC is absolutely and irresponsibly false, malicious and nothing but a serial of the politically calculated attempt by PDP and desperados to damage the hard-earned reputation of the Governor and the integrity of the State Government.

“The petitioners want to use the allegations to attack the credibility of the outcome of the dispensations of all institutions involved in ensuring that justice is done in all the legal actions framed up by PDP to distract the ever performing administration of Governor Umahi, especially to cause him distractions in his intention to run for the Presidency come 2023.

“We rebuke the allegations of ‘looting of Ebonyi State Government’s money’ made by People’s Democratic Party, PDP against our transparent administration as a satanic blackmail that has no iota of truth, desperately calculated to attract the attention of the gullible and sully the reputation of the Governor of the State and which we shall not hesitate in invoking legal actions to bring the petitioners to justice.

“Ebonyi State Government’s expenditure is in the public domain, and there is no doubt that Governor Umahi’s administration has been adjudged to be one of the most transparent, judicious prudent and corrupt-free administrations in Nigeria.”

Orji said the state government had asked the state House of Assembly to waive its immunity and invite the EFCC to within 30 days, investigate all the issues in the allegations contained in the petition by PDP and any other allegation of financial impropriety raised by them.