From Okey Sampson, Umuahia
A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Alex Otti, has urged the Abia government to ensure it recovers money paid to consultants in respect of the Paris Club refund the Federal Government paid to the state.
In a statement he personally signed and entitled: Abia Paris Club Refunds: Stealing on an industrial scale,” Otti said by revelations made by former and serving government officials, it was outrageous for the previous administration in the state to have paid 50 percent of the Paris Club refunds to the consultants.
“Even in a difficult task of recovery of bad debts through a consultant, the maximum compensation applicable all over the world is between two and five percent, so what brought about the rate of 50 percent?
“This has given credence to the generally held opinion that Abia is being recklessly plundered in the most despicable manner.
“From the revelations made by Obinna Oriaku (former Abia State commissioner for finance), it was clear that Governor Okezie Ikpeazu was aware of the existence of the so-called consultants and the questionable agreements they had with his predecessor on behalf of the government with a view to crippling his government and shortchanging the people, therefore one would like to know why Governor Ikpeazu did not terminate the agreement on assumption of office knowing that it was unreasonable?
“Would the consultants have had any locus or grounds to approach the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against the state if the governor had on assumption of office ensured the termination of the contract entered into by his predecessor? Otti queried.
Otti wants the state government to tell Abians the role of the said consultants in the return of funds which the Federal Government made to states.
“The state government should take interest in the matter before EFCC which borders on recovery of funds for one of the consultants and expand the matter to recovery of looted funds in the name of consultancy fees for the benefit of the state,” Otti said.
Otti said it was unfortunate that despite a release he issued on receipt of the funds, appealing to government to be responsible in handling it, to at least, be able to overcome the problem of non-payment of salaries and pensions, the problem still persists.
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Source: Nigerian Newspapers Online