The Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL) today commended the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for taking the initiative to launch a full-scale investigation into the on-going N13.6 billion Enugu State secretariat project, the construction of which the government approved N13.6 billion.
The Executive Chairman of CACOL, Debo Adeniran, lauded the anti-graft commission for living up to expectation by reopening the case file, recalling that the former Enugu State Accountant-General, Eunice Ugwu, claimed that the project would cost N8bn as against N13.6bn that had been reported.
Ugwu, he said, had also said that the government only released money for the feasibility studies and demolition of old Secretariat, whereas funds were provided for same in the 2012 budget.
“Where did the funds budgeted for the demolition and feasibility studies in 2012 go to?” he queried. “Corruption has been the problem of this country over the years. It is very disheartening that the government at all levels have rendered the masses impoverished with the poor becoming poorer. Many items in the budget recur every year with no meaningful impact on the lives of masses. The building of the new secretariat in Enugu State is no doubt, another avenue to rape and maim Enugu State masses and siphon the state funds into private pockets.”
Adeniran said it was shameful thing that funds meant for such development projects as provision of good roads, potable water and good hospitals are cornered into private coffers all in the name of white elephant projects.
“The immediate redeployment of the former Accountant-General of the State, Eunice Ugwu to the State's Civil Service Commission as Permanent Secretary is enough indictment on the Enugu State government,” he declared, adding that it is clearly an attempt to cover-up the fraud allegation.
The CACOL boss urged the EFCC to step up the investigation and that anybody found culpable should be made to face the wrath of the law.
Last year, following a preliminary investigation by the EFCC zonal office in Enugu which followed a petition filed by Osita Okechukwu, the Coordinator of the Congress for Progressives Change (CPC) in Enugu State, Ugwu told the investigators the project would cost N8 billion and not the N13.6 claimed by the petitioner.
At that time, our sources in Enugu say, Governor Chime was away on his prolonged vacation, during which he travelled out of the country. Immediately after he returned to work two months ago, Ugwu was relieved of her appointment as Accountant General and re-appointed as a Permanent Secretary in the Civil Service Commission.