On Thursday, the Ebonyi House of Assembly indicted 12 out of 13 Local Government Caretaker Committee Chairmen due to allegations of embezzlement.
The immediate past Assembly had established a Committee which would investigate the finances of the Chairmen between November 2014 and June 2015 during the time they all resigned their appointments.
The indictment was a part of the Committee’s report, which they submitted to the State Assembly.
The report disclosed that the ex-Chairman embezzled the State’s funds during the above review period.
Some of the expenses recorded had fake titles such as the “breastfeeding expenses,” “security expenses,” “expenses to rally around the past President Goodluck Jonathan,” and other phony invoices.
“The caretaker Chairmen, treasurers, cashiers, and Heads of Departments connived to illegally withdraw money from the council’s accountants and syphoned them into private accountants,” the report said.
“This is in contravention of Section 12 of the Ebonyi Revenue Distribution to Local Government and Development Centres Law 2006.”
The Assembly resolved that the former Caretaker Chairman of Izzi LGA, Mr. Godwin Nwogbaga, should refund N95 Million.
Alongside Nwogbaga, other officials were asked to jointly refund N217 Million.
The Chairman of Ohaukwu LGA, Mrs. Chinyere Elom, asked to refund N53 Million; the caretaker Chairman Ezza North LGA, Mr. Jeff Ogbu, should refund N97 million; the Treasurer of the Council should refund N6 Million and also be dismissed from the service.
“The Chairman of Onicha LGA should refund N158m and return the 60KVA generator which she allegedly carted away while the council’s HOD for works should refund N61m.”
“The Chairman of Ezza South LGA, Mr Edwin Oke, is to refund N115m; he could not explain how it was utilized.”
The Speaker of the House, Mr Francis Nwifuru, who read the report aloud also said that the Committee chose not to indict the former Chairman of IVI LGA, Mr. Joseph Obasi of any financial misdemeanor. They did however recommend that he, like all those indicted in the report, be relieved of their duties by the Governor.
The report also charge the past commissioner for LGA, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, and other Council officials.