Gov Ikpeazu Begs EFCC Chairman To Delay Investigation Of Abia LG Funds
The Abia State Government headed by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu has appealed to the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Abdulrasheed Bawa, to delay the investigation of all the heads and treasurers of 17 Local Government Councils in the state until after May 29, when incoming administration of Alex Otti would have taken reins of power in the state.
Ikpeazu’s appeal is contained in a letter addressed to the EFCC chairman by the state’s Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice, Uche Ihediwa, dated May 5, 2023.
This followed a previous letter by the Abia State Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, dated May 4, directing the LG heads to honour an invitation to show up at the EFCC headquarters in Abuja for questioning on the use of public funds under Ikpeazu’s government.
“I am directed to refer to letter No. 3000/EFCC/ABI/HQ/CMU- 1/TB/UE/VOL.2/127 of 18th April, 2023 on the above subject and inform all the 17 Heads of Service and Treasurers of your release to report for an interview through the Head, CMU-1 HQ team 5 floor, EFCC Headquarters, Plot 301/302 Institutions and Research District, Jabi, Abuja on the dates scheduled against your respective local government area. Time is 10:00 hours, unfailingly,” the letter to the LGAs partly read.
However, the Commissioner of Justice wrote to the EFCC chairman seeking an extension of time to commence investigation of the LGA heads.
He explained that the request for an extension was due to transition arrangements and schedules between the outgoing government and the incoming one.
Ihediwa urged the Commission to grill the council heads in June when the Ikpeazu would have handed over to Otti.
The letter to EFCC reads, “The Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs has shown me two invitations to with reference numbers: 1. CR.3000/EFCC/ABJHQ/CMU-1/TB/UE/VOL.2/008 of 4/4/23 2. CR3000/EFCC/ABI/HQ/CMU-1/18/UE/NC2.2/127 of 18/4/23 inviting Heads of Service and Treasurers of 17 Local Government Councils in Abia State. They also showed me their request for an extension of time sent to your office on the 11th day of April, 2023 (copy and proof of dispatch attached).
“The Government of Abia State and the Local Government Councils have met on these invites and graciously request a further extension of the period of coming to your office to any date in the middle of June 2023. This request is occasioned by the fact that we are transiting to a new Government and these officers play a crucial role in the exercise.
“As a matter of fact the in-coming Government and the out-going one have constituted transition committees that interface with each other, That interface involves invitation of these officers you also request in Abuja.
“In the circumstances, we graciously pray you to grant these officers an extension of time to a date in the middle of June 2023. Attached are the letters referred to herein. Accept the assurances of my highest esteem.”
The LGAs whose council heads were invited to the EFCC headquarters include Aba North/Aba South, Arochukwu/Bende, Ikwuano/Isiala-Ngwa North, Isiala-Ngwa South/Isuikwuato, Obingwa/Ohafia, Osisioma-Ngwa/Ugwunagbo, Ukwa East/Ukwa West, Umuahia North/Umuahia South and Ummueneochi.