Imo State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, said, yesterday, that he had nothing to worry about the decision by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s (EFCC) on-going investigations into the financial operations of the state.
It was learnt that operatives of the anti-graft agency had been secretly investigating the operations of the state joint account with the 27 local government areas as well as the financial records of Imo under former Governor Ikedi Ohakim.
The secret investigation, it was gathered, was aimed at establishing whether Okorocha had misused the funds meant for the 27 LGAs of the state, whose heads he sacked on assumption of office and replaced with his supporters.
In anger, the sacked chairmen approached an Imo State High Court to restore them but the court declined, a prayer that an Appeal Court later granted.
However, the state governor refused to reinstate the embattled chairmen, claiming that their tenure expired last August.
The Federal Government is said to have been peeved by the refusal of the governor to reinstate the chairmen, who were all elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
A source said the Presidency was interested in establishing how the funds released to the affected LGAs in the state had been used with a view to taking action to avenge for the apparent ‘loss’ of the state and local government councils.
In a veil reference to the development, the Political Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan, Alhaji Ahmed Gulak, described the refusal of the governor to reinstate the sacked chairmen as an impeachable offence.
Okorocha said at the weekend, he was happy that the EFCC had begun investigations into the finances of the state, as he had nothing to be afraid of when it comes to government.
Okorocha, who spoke through the Commissioner for Information, Mr. Chinedu Offor, said his hands were clean and was ready to open the financial records of the state for scrutiny by whoever was interested.
“The investigation of the state finances is a welcome development in that the EFCC is finally making effort to investigate and hopefully recover billions of Naira spent on phantom internet-based projects.
“ Governor Rochas Okorocha was the first sitting governor to have called on the EFCC to set up a unit in every governor’s office to pre-empt and prevent corruption rather than launching investigation after the funds have gone missing.
“Owelle Okorocha runs the most transparent administration in the country and has nothing to hide. The administration is barely a year and half old but has numerous verifiable projects to show how the little funds it received had been spent,” Offor declared.