Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike yesterday insisted that the $45 million recovered from Ikoyi, Lagos luxury apartment was his state’s money kept by his predecessor and Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi.
He insisted that the money was part of proceeds from the sale of four power plants and other assets of the state by ex-governor Amaechi in 2012. He also asked Christians in Rivers State to pray for God’s intervention, so that the money will be returned to the state government.
To buttress his claim, Wike made public an earlier released White Paper indicting Amaechi for the sale of the power plants. He had set up a Judicial Commission of Inquiry, under the chairmanship of Justice George Omereji, to investigate the administration of Amaechi over sale of valued assets of the state and other related matters. The probe was followed by a White Paper issued by the Rivers State government.
The Judicial Commission of Inquiry indicted Amaechi for allegedly “engaging in defective share sales contract,” just as the office of the Attorney-General of the state was directed to take measures to recover proceeds of the sale of the power assets.
The commission report had stated: “The commission finds that the sale of 70 per cent of the First Independent Power Limited in Omoku Gas Turbine, Trans-Amadi Gas Turbine, Eleme Gas Turbine and Afam Gas Turbine is difficult to justify, considering the enormous investment made by the Rivers State government in the construction of the four gas turbines and the very limited number of years the turbines have served the people of the state.”
Continuing, it stated: “In furtherance of the findings that the sale of the four gas turbines was unjustified and against the interest of the government and people of the Rivers State, the commission recommends that the former governor of Rivers, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, along with his former Commissioner for Finance and Power, Dr. Chamberlain Peterside and Sir Augustine Wokocha respectively to be held to account for the roles in the sale of the power generation assets of First Independent Power Limited and the disbursement of the proceeds.”
On what happened, the commission of inquiry wrote: “The commission finds that Rivers State Government Executive Council at its 19th executive council meeting held on 15th and 16th August 2012 approved the sale of 70 per cent equity of the state-owned First Independent Power Limited to NG Power-HPS Limited comprising Omoku Gas Turbine, Eleme Gas Turbine, Trans-Amadi Gas Turbine and Afam Gas Turbine at the unite price of $800, 000.00 USD per megawatts, which multiplied by 541 megawatts amounts to $432,8000.00 and 70 percent of which amounted to $302,960,000.00.
“The commission further finds that based on the above transactions, the Rivers State government handed over the management of First Independent Power Limited to NG Power-HPS Limited; that so far only the sum of $274,563,559.59 had been paid to the Rivers State Government by NG Power-HPS Limited leaving an outstanding balance of $28,4 million and the NG Power-HPS Limited is nothing but a subsidiary of Sahara Energy Resources Limited.
“Government accepts this findings but notes that the actual sum of money due and payable to the government of Rivers State by NG-Power-HPS Limited under the power sale contract is $116,522,042.46, made up as follows: $63,456,440.41 being outstanding balance on the purchase price of $302,960,000.000; $53,95,000,602.05 being monies transferred from Rivers State government domiciliary account from Access Bank to Sahara Energy Resources Limited…”
On the Monorail Project, the Commission recommended “the recovery of N35,108,316,295.65 from Brigadier-General Anthony Ukpo, TSI Limited, former governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi and George Tolofari, for being the masterminds behind the failed monorail project. “
Meanwhile, Governor, Wike, while reiterating that the money recovered from Ikoyi apartment, was Rivers State government’s funds kept by Amaechi, has asked the state’s Christians to intercede in prayers, to ensure the Federal Government returned it.
Wike had, at the weekend, said the money recovered by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was part of proceed from sale of Rivers’ electricity plants effected by Amaechi when he was governor.
He said Amaechi used part of the proceeds from the sale to sponsor the All Progressives Congress (APC) during the 2015 elections and hid part of it in the Ikoyi apartment. He demanded the return of the money to Rivers or the state government would institute a legal action to recover it from the federal government. Amaechi has since denied ownership of the money.
Speaking during Easter Church Service at Saint Peter’s Anglican Church, Rumuepirikom, yesterday, Wike said the church has a responsibility to pray that God touches the federal government to return the money to the coffers of Rivers State, as its belongs to the state government.
He said: “We need the prayer of the church, because there is nothing that prayer cannot do. Pray that God should touch the government of Nigeria, so they will return the money to us. What we are interested in is for the money to come back to us.”
Wike said contrary to the false propaganda being peddled by Amaechi, he has not declared war on the federal government, but the State government is simply requesting the return of funds belonging to the state.
He said: “I cannot declare war on the Federal Government. Anybody bringing Buhari’s name in it should leave Buhari and face his own problems. The issue is who kept the money at the Ikoyi residence? The money was kept there by the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi.
“No amount of blackmail; no amount of distraction will stop us from getting our money.”
He alleged between 70 and 80 percent of the APC campaigns in 2015 was sponsored with funds sourced by the Rivers State government under the leadership of Amaechi.
According to him, the idea of selective war on corruption would not help development in the country.
Wike wondered why security intelligence “go for opponents of the Federal Government, but when glaring corruption issues, like the Ikoyi case, where millions of dollars, belonging to Rivers State but kept by former governor of the state and a serving minister and member of the APC, have been found, the war on corruption is suspended and diversionary tactics adopted.”
Vicar of Saint Peter’s Anglican Church, Rumuepirikom, Venerable Israel Omosioni, prayed God to grant the request of Rivers people for the Ikoyi billions to be returned.
He said with the execution of projects across the state by the governor, additional funds would assist Wike to achieve more for people of the state.
The church resolved to start the prayers, which would be sustained till the funds are returned.To ascertain the circumstances of the sale of the Omoku 150 mega wartrts gas turbine, Afam 360 mega watts turbine, Trans-Amadi 136 mega watts gas turbine and Eleme 75 mega watts turbine by the administration of former Governor Chbuike Amaechi.
Tpo identiofy the purchasers of the gas tiurbines, the total costs for which they were sold and the whereabouts of the proceeds of the sale
To ascertain whether the transaction was conducted with the requisite transparency and accountabiolity in accordance with the probisions of the extant laws enforced in Rivers Starte
To determine if if the government and people have any equity left in the said gas turbine and the value of such equity.