Rivers State government has asked the Minister for Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, to account for the $308 million (about N112 billion) proceeds of the sale towards the end of his administration of the state’s gas turbine power stations to Sahara Energy, belonging to Tonye Cole, the endorsed governorship aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state.
Rivers Commissioner for Information and Communications Emma Okah yesterday in Port Harcourt alleged that the proceeds of the sale of the power stations were diverted to fund political activities of APC was responsible for why Amaechi’s government abandoned so many uncompleted projects and owed salaries and pensions to workers before he left office in 2015.
The transportation minister, on Sunday in Port Harcourt, at an APC’s rally to receive defectors from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), said: “Nothing is greater than God. I closed my mouth for nearly three years, to enable Wike to do his work. Instead of doing his work, he was busy going everywhere, talking and stealing our money. Wike stole N117 billion belonging to Rivers State, as revealed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).”
Okah claimed that besides the power assets which Amaechi sold to Sahara Energy, the same company also bought the Olympia Hotel in the old Government Reservation Area (GRA), Port Harcourt and other high-value state assets, under suspicious circumstances.
He said: “The Justice Omereji Commission of Inquiry investigated the spurious sales and indicted the Minister for Transportation. Instead of refunding the money, the minister rushed to court to set aside the findings of the commission. He lost at the High Court and at the Court of Appeal. His appeal to the Supreme Court has been abandoned, because for over a year, he has failed to file a brief of argument.
“This is why the minister is arm-twisting his party members in the state and forcing Mr. Tonye Cole on them as their anointed flag bearer in the 2019 governorship polls. There is need to cover the skeletons in the cupboard.
“Instead of explaining why he took such contagious economic steps against the state, the former Rivers governor is busy blackmailing the government of Rivers State and supporting the EFCC to disobey existing court orders and harass the government of Rivers State and its officials.”