In line with the anti-corruption stance of the Federal Government, the Independent Corrupt Practices (and other related offences) Commission (ICPC) has commenced investigation into the management of appropriated funds at the Local Government level in Akwa Ibom State.
Following a petition to the anti-graft agency by political stakeholders and civil society groups in Esit Eket Local Government Area of the State, it was gathered the tenure of Deacon Ibanga Etang, who chaired the Council between 2011 and 2015.
The petitioners drawn from different Wards in Esit Eket, included Hon. Al Mustapher Emem Edoho, politician and human right activist; Elder Emmanuel Okpodighe, Youth Leader of Idung Udo Nsak community; Prince Uwem Edukere, youth activist; Prince Ubong Umanah, Youth leader and other stakeholders of the Local Government.
They accused the former Council chair of squandering funds running into over N500Million meant for the development of the Council and its people between 2011 and 2015, when he took charge of the Local Government as the Chairman.
A letter entitled: ‘Request for statement of affairs and income and expenditure of Esit Eket Council’s finances between June 2011 and 2015’, the petitioners alleged the ex-Chairman diverted allocations and internally generated revenues of the Council during his three years stint.
“That you also fraudulently converted tenement rate payment to Esit Eket Local Government Councils from oil companies including Frontier Oil, Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited and Oil Serve Limited, among others”, part of the letter reads.
The petitioners also alleged in their grounds of relief that allocations accrued to Esit Eket during the tenure of Deacon Etang, ran in excess of N3Billion, arguing that “the total wage bill for Esit Eket throughout the period at the rate of N20Million per months amounted to about N720Million”.
Therefore, the former Chairman’s failure to account for the balance, according to them, necessitated the ongoing legal action against the leadership of the Council, adding that they would stop at nothing to seek an Order of Mandamus against the suspects to serve as deterrent to others.
The ICPC Zonal Commissioner, Mr. Henry Emore, admitted the matter was before the Commission but declined to reveal details in order to jeopardize investigation.
“We cannot disclose our investigation”, Emore said yesterday, on phone.
Efforts to reach the former Esit Eket Chairman failed as he could neither pick his calls or respond to a text message to him on his mobile line.