Governor Alex Otti of Abia State.

Sir Chikwe Udensi, a security consultant with the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), has urged Abia State governor, Dr Alex Otti, not to mix his good works with some falsehood when passing information to the people.

Udensi, a chieftain of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), said that he is disturbed at the way the current Abia government is treating with kid gloves, the alleged embezzlement of N107 billion Abia money.

He said that the manner Otti’s administration is treating the case of the money it alleged to have been embezzled by the immediate past government of Dr Okezie Ikpeazu after forensic auditing, sends a disturbing signal that such allegations may not be true.

A few days ago, Governor Otti while speaking to some Abia people in the United States said, “N79.3 billion naira was paid to seven Contractors for contracts that were not executed at all. Another 15.9 billion almost 16 billion was paid to 63 contractors with no supporting documents anywhere. Another 13 billion naira was paid to two contractors for contracts that do not exist out of these figures, and 10 billion naira was on September 25, 2020, paid to some contractor for the construction of Abia State Airport.”

Reacting, Udensi during a monitored Radio Phone-in Programme said that he is not taking the state government very seriously in such allegations because there are pieces of evidence to prove that similar previous allegations made by the same government have proven not to be true.

“Some of the organizers of the Governor’s Trip to America are very close to me and known to me. What I asked for is the full record of the whole proceeding not just what the Governor said. However, I’m a bit disturbed that a matter like this is been treated with trivial attitudes. I’m concerned that N107 billion is alleged to have been embezzled and we’re talking about some contractors and using native knowledge to go and locate the airport. We must get serious.

“N107 billion? By now we should have commenced a full investigation and all those who are responsible for such heinous arrangements should be in detention if the proper process are taken. What do I mean by proper process, the crime is said to have been committed in Abia State, the alleged suspects are all in Abia State, the investigation was done in Abia State, then the announcement of the results of the investigation was done in the United States of America, he said.

The security expert said that in his field of security, once they notice something like the above where there seems to be some form of insincerity, they will become apprehensive and begin to wonder what is the purpose of it all.

“You recall that when the governor came in, he indicated that he’s going investigate the regimes that were before him. We were expecting an investigation from 1999 to 2023, but he chose only the Ikpeazu administration to investigate.

“You’ll recall that on open parliament, I criticized it because I was not comfortable with it. When you seem to specify your level of interest, people may become suspicious of what actually your interest is.

“Again given the fact that everybody must remain innocent until proven guilty, you cannot insist by any imagination that anybody is a criminal. Look at what’s happening in social media right now, the trial is going on social media.

“In Investigation, when you see any of the security agencies start media trial on a case, then they have no case. Go and check it, go and check records. Once they leave the court where you ought to take your matter to and go to the media, you’re playing to the gallery and people like us cannot take you seriously because nothing can be more evil than an accusation that denies the accused the right of defence,” he said.

Udensi frowned against what he termed media persecution of the immediate past government, instead of judicial prosecution, stressing that if anybody is accused, in all honesty, they are allowed to defend themselves before anybody can come out and call them evil.

He said that the fact that he is not in agreement with certain decisions and actions of the Alex Otti-led administration does not mean that the administration is not doing well in the area of Infrastructure and went ahead to commend the Governor for the achievements so far.

“Let’s look at the things that have happened in Abia State, there are things that make me not take all those records I see seriously because I personally have reasons to question some of the things that are being done in my state. That doesn’t mean that my Governor is not doing well in the area of Infrastructure. I’ve commended him because he’s doing very well in the area of Infrastructure, but there are things that ought to be done and done properly.

“You remember that about 5,000 ghost workers were found, the Governor himself announced it and we said for 5000 ghost workers to be collecting salaries in Abia State without working is a heinous crime. Billions were being paid to them according to Abia State government and we said, these ghost workers in Abia State are being paid through a bank account, let’s have the bank account.

“It should be published so that first of all, we can make a mockery of those whose names are there. Nobody can open an account with the necessary requirements like BVN etc. So, these 5,000 ghost workers, how were they being paid? Were they being paid cash? Let’s find out that we have an honest disposition of a government that will give proper information.

“That’s why some of us are very sceptical about the 107 billion that has gone to the press for prosecution. We were told that we’ve cleared nine years of arrears of pension, only for us to realize that only %40 were being paid to them for the past nine months. What they’re doing right now is the balance of %60 which is what they owed throughout the nine months that they’ve been in government.”

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