Being a petition by the Save Abia Initiative for Change, a voluntary association of concerned citizens, to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against former Governor Theodore Ahamefula Orji, his wife and son.
THE SAVE ABIA INITIATIVE FOR CHANGE has put up this petition against the former Governor of Abia State – Dr. T.A Orji – during the period of second tenure (2011-2015) and how he squandered the funds released to him. We also petition the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to recover all such government funds released to the said ex-governor – Dr. T.A. Orji – within the period, which were either misappropriated, embezzled or looted. We also demand that any property purchased with such funds should be recovered and sold to the public so that such funds are paid back into government coffers.
It will be our desire and we insist that every person, no matter how highly placed found culpable in misappropriating, embezzling and looting of government property or funds, be properly punished by the law.
Sir, we know the level of risk involved in exposing such people, who fraudulently or criminally misappropriated and embezzled government funds and humbly request you to extend your protective hands of the law on all members of SAIC, their families and supporters, who might be hunted or intimidated for exposing the truth for Abia to be safe from further financial recklessness.
Finally, as you commence this investigation, we promise to make ourselves available on demand and at all times throughout the investigation to help you achieve the desired result in any way deemed necessary by you.
Please Sir, remember you are the last hope of Abians to help the zero corruption tolerance of the President Buhari-led Federal Government to the change agenda in Abia State.
In this petition, SAVE ABIA INITIATIVE FOR CHANGE found out that the total federal monthly revenue allocation to Abia State Government under Governor T. A. Orji, from January 2011 to March 2015, is N383 billion. The total Excess Crude Oil fund is about N55 billion. The total loans and refunds to government within the period is N33.6 billion. Sure-P funds released to them from 2012-2014 is N2.3 billion. The government has an external debt of $35.9 million or about N8 billion as at 2013.
It was also discovered that there is N1.8 billion ecological project funds approved in nine different sites in Abia State, with about N860 million released so far.
The SAVE ABIA INITIATIVE discovered that with all these monies, the Abia State government could not show anything substantial, which they did with the money. It was discovered that the ex-governor, Dr. T.A. Orji, his wife, Dr. (Mrs.) Odochi Orji, the son, Engr. Chinedu Orji, used the proceeds of their own loot to purchase and acquire estate and landed properties across the country. Some of his commissioners’ aides and Transition Chairmen, who are involved in this ugly transaction of misappropriating and embezzling funds are also identified. Six out of the ecological projects (erosion control) are non-existent and the money about N830 million are in their pockets.
At least, 60 per cent of the excess crude oil fund was fraudulently ascribed to payout for the protection of oil pipelines in Abia State, using ASOPADEC as a siphoning conduit. It was discovered that little or nothing was done with the N2.3 billion Sure-P fund, instead the operators of the Sure-P project misappropriated the fund. The N12 billion being refund from Paris Club was diverted by Governor T.A. Orji.
The SAVE ABIA INITIATIVE FOR CHANGE in this petition lists out all the names of those involved in this fraudulent and criminal misappropriation and embezzlement of public funds.
Abia State Government corrupt and fraudulent financial transactions leading to embezzlement of funds with impunity
The Abia State PDP-led government under the then Governor Chief T.A. Orji (Ochendo) from 2011 to 2014 was known to be run by very corrupt and insensitive officers. That government exhibited open financial recklessness with impunity, (see Abia State audit report 2011/2012). Everybody in Abia State, including those in the Diaspora, wanted the government and all its sponsored candidate to be voted out. Unfortunately, this was not possible, primarily because almost every Abian, starting from its appointees, stakeholders, PDP party officers, most security agents and even the “Almighty” Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had compromised their official positions and personal integrity
The Ochendos, that is, the unholy trinity of father, son and wife, always make people know that no human being can resist the bribe they can give to achieve their aim in any circumstance they find themselves. Anyone, who follow the general elections of 2015 before, during and after will know that they are claiming exactly what they are.
What should be of public interest here is how they get such whopping sums of money to bribe their way out of every circumstance, no matter how impossible it might look. This is the crux of the matter. From 2011 till 2014, the major business of government was to accumulate money from public funds for the selfish interest of the unholy trinity that is Governor T.A. Orji, his wife (Dr.) Mrs. Mercy Odochi Orji and his son Engr. Chinedu Orji. He created different avenue to siphon public funds into their private account. With impunity, they diverted a lot of money coming to government into private account, such money include proceeds from over invoice and inflated contract, ecological, Sure-P and CBN SME funds. Government obtained loans from banks, funds from Paris Club and did a little or nothing with the money but instead they shared the money with the heads of such institutions whose names were used to obtained the money.
These institutions include:
- Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs
- Local Government Service Commission and
- Local Government Area Councils
- Ministry of Finance to mention but a few.
They also created conduits in the names of government parastatals or boards through which they siphon money to their private account. A few of such institutions include; Abia State Road Maintenance Agency (ABRMA), from VAT account, Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), Abia State Oil Producing Development Agency (ASOPDA) and Abia State Environmental Protection Agency (ASEPA).
Generally, it was a norm for that government to spend a maximum of 30 per cent of the actual value of any project while the other 70 per cent will be used to settle their “dependent relatives” (not salaries), while the big chunk of the money remained with the unholy trinity. With this development, the governor, with his cronies ran the government with impunity since money was available to stop anybody who cares from raising any eyebrow to whatever they did.
Now that elections have come and gone and Abia State PDP-led government has succeeded itself by using money made for Abia State obtained by fraudulent means, it is only logical that well-meaning Abians should demand to know why the state is almost bankrupt. Today, all sectors of the economy of the state has collapsed; salaries, pensions and gratuities of public officers can no longer be sustained. Our public utilities cannot be maintained, our roads are already in shamble both in the city and rural areas, our market are destroyed and relocated and empty property converted to themselves.
For these reasons SAVE ABIA INITIATIVE FOR CHANGE was founded. This is a group of Abians from all works of life who have come together to ensure that embezzled and misappropriated funds and properties of Abia State are recovered. In doing this we are aware of the level of risk involve in our self-imposed project. We are, however, encouraged that the new Buhari-led APC Federal Government is preaching zero tolerance for corruption and we do hope they will come to our aid when we are being hunted for exposing the truth without fear or favour. We are very confident that the EFCC will not betray us and Abians nor compromise with the unholy trinity and sell Abians, like INEC did during the National Elections in Abia State.
To achieve these objectives, we hereby lay our lives on the part of honour and integrity for the people of Abia State to ensure that we recover for Abia State all misappropriated and all embezzled funds and properties of Abia State. To achieve this, is a task that must be done by the grace and guidance of God
LOANS FROM BANKS/REFUNDS
N10.5 BILLION LOAN FROM FIRST BANK 2012
The State Government, with the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, in-collaboration with Local Government Council, sought for and obtained, in 2012, the sum of N10.5 billion and used JAAC Funds as collateral for the loans. The loan is supposed to be for Developmental Projects for the Local Government Areas
Details of the Loan:
Each of the 17 Local Government of the state subscribed for N500 million from the loan totaling N8.5 billion. The Transition Chairmen, who got the loans had only N60 million released to them as follows:
- N40million for the development of Local Government Secretariat: N20 million was given to every Local Government Council to fence two schools at N10 million each. There was no trace of how the balance of N440 million left for each council was used. That is to say, the total sum of N7, 480, 000. 00 billion was embezzled from that loan. From the N40 million above, each Transition Chairman gave back N7 million to the source being the value of their official monetised vehicle for him and his deputy.
Note: Remember, this N7 million was supposed to be paid from their salaries. The list of the names and phone numbers of the Transition Chairmen involved in this unholy business is hereby attached. It is very important to know that from the N440 million, which should have been used for the development of Local Government Area, each of the T.C chairman was given N20 million for signing off the balance (N440 million) of the loan.
The balance of N2 billion out of the N10.5 billion loan was appropriated into the hands of Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Chief Emma Nwabuko.
Loan of four billion Naira from Diamond Bank: In 2012, the government of Abia State, through Ministry of Works and Housing, obtained a loan of N4 billion for the completion of the new commissioners’ quarters. It will be recalled that the former Governor, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, started that project and nearly completed it, the new work done by Governor T.A. Orji does not exceed N300 million, which is about the actual amount he claimed for the completion of that project in 2012 budget (see audit report). He embezzled N3.7 billion with his commissioners of Works and Housing, Hon. Chief Kingsley Mgbeahuru and Chief Longman Nwachukwu from public funds through this project.
From the forgoing, it is evident that the following, conspired among themselves to defraud the government of Abia to State the turn of N13,180, 000. 00billion only. They are:
- Dr. T. A Orji (Governor)
- The Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Chief Emma Nwabuko;
- The 17 Transition Council Chairmen on seat 2012;
- The Commissioners of Works – Chief Mgbeahuru and Chief Longman Nwachukwu;
Funds From Paris Club: In 2010 and 2011 Abia State government received N12 billion in more than one trench as refund from Paris Club. The utilisation of this fund was fraudulent and need to be investigated. So far, it is of common knowledge that these funds were invested by the Governor, Chief T.A Orji and his son Engr. Chinedu Orji in landed properties, including Ochendo Housing Estate by Azikwe and shopping Mall, No. 1 Aba Road Umuahia and others.
Loans To Local Government Councils: The ex-governor, Dr. T.A. Orji had obtained a loan of N800 million purported to be for local government staff salaries. By November 2013, he directed the local government councils to hold their F and G Council meetings to approve the loans. This loan was to be shared by the 17 local government councils. This was not the case. Instead the governor misappropriated and embezzled the money.
N2billion Agricultural Loans To Farmers: The Federal Ministry of Agriculture released N2 billion to Abia State Farmers through State Ministry of Agriculture. This loan was misappropriated and farmers did not get the loan. The late, Dr. Ken Nwosu, former Commissioner of Agriculture wanted this loan to be given to the farmers but he died (May His Soul Rest in Peace).
Note: This loan is different from the one disbursed by Dr. Chukwu Nwachukwu in 2013.
College of Education Technical, Arochukwu: The Abia State Government puts the monthly subvention of College of Education Technical, Arochukwu at N160 million. Pitiable enough, and in agreement with the then provost – Dr. Chris Nwamuo – they released only N21 million monthly to the college. The difference is shared between the governor and the provost. It is from this money that the provost built Giwa Hotel near the school. This is one of the reasons they could not pay the teachers.
The chairman of the Board of Internal Revenue Abia State, who operates with his cronies’ fraudulently, runs the following BIR Accounts. He is supposed to know how much Abia State generates as Internal Revenue but deliberately denies Abians this information because he connives with his surrogates to fraudulently run these accounts:
- i. Unity Bank Account No. 0021645626
- Fidelity Bank Account No. 00530370000155
iii. Zenith Bank Account No. 1010803601
- Zenith Bank Account No. 1013194292
- Fidelity Bank Account No. 5030013304
Before the end of this investigation, we will help the EFCC to locate the position of the five Star Hotel he is building with public fund at Abuja.
Official Vehicles to Transition Chairmen and their Deputies: In Abia State and in all the tenure of Governor T.A Orji May 29, 2011 to May 29, 2015 he used only Transition Council Chairmen to run the Local Government Areas. Each Transition Chairman has a tenure of six months, in the first instance and may be renewed for another six months at a time for such number of periods that pleases the governor. All of them with their deputies are usually provided with official cars under monetised policy for public servants. Even though due process was not followed in purchasing and giving these vehicles to them, they also did not pay for these vehicles from their salaries. The EFCC is hereby being humbly requested to recover these vehicles or their monetized values.
Abia State Oil Producing Area Development Commission (ASOPADC): In this commission 13 per cent oil derivative from Federal Allocation is given to them as subvention. They are supposed to use it for development of the oil producing areas. So far about N820 million has been released to them. Unfortunately, all the developmental projects in the oil producing areas are less than 40 per cent of the money, so far released. The former commissioner of the commission – Chief Sam Nwaogu – who, after sharing the funds with the government, is now in the NDDC Board. The truth is that he used the money lavishly to build an estate he calls his residential home. He should be investigated, as he has nothing doing before the appointment.
FUNDS SIPHONED THROUGH BANKS WITHOUT PURPOSE.
- Abia State ASOPADC Diamond Bank: Amount N244,500,000.00
In May 2013, the Abia State Government, without any defined purpose for which the money will be used, lodged in and cashed the sum of N244,500,000.00 with four different cheques in their Diamond Bank Account
CHEQUES NO AMOUNT
- UBA VAT ACCOUNT NUMBER FOR N1,651,363,000.00
In the same May 2013, without any defined purpose for which the money will be used, the state government withdrew the sum of N1, 651, 363, 000.00.
ILLEGAL EXPENDITURE (N12, 377, 961,014) NOT BACKED BY LAW TO BE REFUNDED BY THE HEAD OF THE FOLLOWING MINISTRIES AND INSTITUTION 2011/2012 FINANCIAL YEARS.
The following project and expenses are the excess money spent deliberately on project they are made for. They were extracted from the budget of the year 2011/2012 audit report of Abia State government. The auditor indicts the government and described their spending pattern as reckless. Unfortunately, the Abia State House of Assemble Committee on Finance and Appropriation, which should have queried the government did not do so. Instead the governor, Chief T.A. Orji, the Accountant General, Chief Onyendilefu and the heads of the affected department connived among themselves and fraudulently retired these sums of money into their private purse.
Full details can be found on pages 50 to 61 of the budget of the year 2011/2012 Abia State Audit report.
Commissioner for Ministry Of Works And Housing
- Construction of Afaraukwu Road = N 15,000,000
- Construction of Youth Centre = N 9,000,000
- Special project/Activities = N 16,300,000
- Construction of 4 additional duplex (Commissioner Quarters) = N 23,500,000
- Completion of Deputy Governor’s lodge = N 4,600,000
- Abia State low-cost Security and Emergency Call Centre = N273,430,000
TOTAL = N68,400,000
The Commissioner for Ministry Of Health
- Rehabilitation of Equipment (4 general Hospital) = N10,000,000
- Construction of Kitchen and Store (School of midwifery) Amachara = N246,580,000
TOTAL = N256.580,000
The Head Of Department
- Government Press = N40,421,600
- Purchase of Video production and Post production = N19,000,000
TOTAL = N59,421,600
Commissioner for Ministry of Agriculture
- FADAMA III/ IDA Project = N 127,579,628
- Acquisition of Capital Assets = N 19,000,000
- Over expenditure (Not backed by law = N 3,803,963, 837
- Over expenditure on debt charges = N 7,896,305,577
TOTAL = N11,719,269,414
GRAND TOTAL = N12,377,961,014
FRAUDULENT AND CORRUPT PRACTICES IN THE ABIA STATE PENSIONS BOARD
The Abia State Pensioners Should Be Pitied: They go on bended knees from month to month seeking to be paid their legitimate pensions and gratuity. While their gratuities, even after 10 years, is not the crux of the matter here. Instead, the main problem, which this petition wants to address, is the fraudulent and criminal exploitation of pensioners in Abia State, which is going unabated. It is the view of the petitioners that the syndicate treats the pensioners with impunity and made them look like beggars.
To be continued