EletiofeAlex Otti Is Telling Lies To Deceive People –...

Alex Otti Is Telling Lies To Deceive People – Ikpeazu Reacts To ₦107.2 Billion For Non-existent Projects In Abia State

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The immediate past governor of Abia State, Okezie Ikpeazu has denied allegations of fund diversion levelled against his administration by his successor, Gov Alex Otti.

He stated that Otti is telling lies to show his dislike for him by deceiving the audience.

Recall that Otti, during a recent event in the United States stated that upon taking office last year as Governor of the state, he invited one of the top audit firms in the world to conduct a forensic audit.

He said the audit firms recently turned in their reports, which show that Ikpeazu allegedly paid ₦107.2 billion for some non-existent projects, including the airport.

Otti further revealed that the billions paid for the non-existent airport were used to clear off pension and salary arrears owed for 10 years.

But reacting through his spokesman, Onyebuchi Ememanka, Ikpeazu tagged the report as a tissue of lies, intricately woven by a spin doctor to deceive his audience.

Questioning the secrecy surrounding the audit firm in charge, Ikpeazu said Otti’s target by the allegation is to internationalise his deep aversion against him.

Speaking on the issue of the diversion of funds and the claims of the construction of an airport, Ikpeazu refuted claims of building an airport and had never claimed to have built one.

The statement reads, “Our attention has been drawn to trending reports of a speech delivered by the Governor of Abia State, Dr Alex Otti at a forum somewhere in the United States of America, wherein he made certain allegations against his predecessor in office, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, bothering on financial malfeasance.

“Ever since leaving office as Governor of Abia State for two consecutive terms, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu has carried himself with the dignity his present situation in life demands and has, as a matter of personal policy, avoided any confrontation with the present Governor and his administration.

“At best, what Dr. Ikpeazu has authorized are clarifications whenever the current administration seeks to misinform the public about what transpired during the last administration. Clear instances of these abound and a few of them shall be highlighted later in this release.

“We want to make it abundantly clear that what the Governor spewed at that forum is a tissue of lies, intricately woven by a spin doctor to deceive his audience and internationalize his known deep aversion for his predecessor.

“For starters, we welcome the fact that the Governor has chosen to bring in a reputable firm of auditors who conducted a forensic audit. According to him, the firm “is one of the top three in the world”, therefore it must be Deloitte, Ernst and Young or PriceWaterHouseCoopers. These are firms whose professionalism and global repute are not in doubt.

“When forensic auditors are appointed and when they complete their task, the reasonable thing to do is to make the Forensic Audit Report public and allow the document speak for itself.

“Governor Alex Otti should, as a matter of public policy, name the Accounting Firm that did the audit and release the audit report. Abia State has a functional website. The audit report should be posted there immediately. Going to a foreign land to make comments about a document that is not in the public domain portrays the Governor as an administrative comedian.

“At this point, it is important to address the issues raised by the Governor one after the other, naturally starting with the one that has generated the most reactions – the missing airport.

“Even the Governor himself found his own claims ridiculous and he couldn’t help laughing at himself because his claims are utterly senseless.

“Former Governor Okezie Ikpeazu never built any airport and never claimed to have built one.

“Facts are sacred. At some point in our administration, the idea of building an airport came up. It was an ambitious idea which the Governor wanted to pursue and one of the schemes that were considered then for funding the project was a Public Private Partnership.

“The State Government announced their plan to invest the sum of 10 Billion Naira into the project. Some private investors showed interest and the Government through the Ministry of Lands, commenced the acquisition of a large expanse of land at a location between Ikwuano and Isiala Ngwa North LGAs.

“There were interfaces between the Ministry and the representatives of the land owning communities, and some investors actually came to Abia to hold preliminary discussions with representatives of the State Government on the project.

“While these talks went on, a section of the Abia public felt that the airport idea was ill-timed. Indeed, the State Traditional Rulers Council led by their then Chairman, Hrm Eze Joseph Nwabeke visited the Governor and advised him to shelve airport plans and channel such funds, if they were available, into the completion of some critical road projects then. This advice aligned with realities on the ground.

“Ladies and gentlemen, the only money the Ikpeazu administration committed into the airport project was 10 Million Naira, released to the Ministry of Lands during the process of acquiring the land and to manage the interface with the local communities. Not a Kobo more was spent.

“There was never any design for the airport. There was never a contractor selected and there was never any contract signed between the State Government and any person for this job.”

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