Rivers State Government says the Minister of Transport Rt Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi must account for the $308 Million (about N112Bn) being proceeds of the sale of Rivers State gas turbine power stations to Sahara Energy belonging to Mr Tonye Dele Cole towards the end of his administration.
According to a statement issued in Port Harcourt today by the Commissioner for Information and Communications, Emma Okah, the sale of the power stations and diversion of the proceeds to fund political activities of the APC was the reason why the Governor Amaechi government abandoned so many uncompleted projects and owed salaries and pensions to workers before he left office in 2015.
According to Okah, apart from the power assets which the former governor sold to Sahara Energy, the same company also bought the Olympia Hotel and other high value state assets under suspicious circumstances from the Governor Amaechi administration and the Justice Omereji Commission of Inquiry was asked to inquire
“The Justice Omereji Commission of Inquiry investigated the spurious sales and indicted the Minister of Transport and 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 been abandoned because for over a year, he has failed to file a brief of argument” Okah said, noting that this is the reason why the Minister is arm twisting his party members in the state and forcing Mr Tonye Dele Cole on them as their anointed flag bearer in the 2019 governorship polls.
“The reason for Tonye Dele Cole is now better explained”, Okah added, noting that 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 governor and Minister of Transport is busy blackmailing the Government of Rivers State and supporting the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to disobey existing court orders and harass the Government of Rivers State and her officials.
“for the avoidance of doubts, Rivers State Government is not against the fight against corruption. Our case is that there are two perpetual court injunctions restraining the Commission from investigating the finances of Rivers State Government and until those injunctions are vacated by a superior court, the Commission is duty bound in law to respect it irrespective of how worried the former governor may feel today” the statement added.
According to Okah, 0n 15th September 2010, the Transport Minister, then as Governor of Rivers State protested the interference of the EFCC in the finances of the State at that time and urged them to vacate the two judgements of the State High Court dated 16/02/2007 and Federal High Court dated 20/03/07 respectively. The EFCC under Mrs Farida Waziri agreed with Rivers State Government and allowed the rule of law to prevail.
It is therefore very funny that the same person who told the EFCC to leave the state alone in 2010 is urging the same commission to invade the State even when the injunctions have not been vacated. The Rivers State Government assures the Transport Minister that the law has not changed and the facts remain the same and so his collusion with the Commission to harass Rivers State Government and her officials will not work.
Hon Commissioner for Information and Communications