Integrity Group Recants, Exonerates Amaechi from Corruption Charges

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Says former governor was framed by Wike PDP calls for prosecution of Wechie for perjury CLO dissociates self from Wechie

Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
A major political storm may be gathering in Rivers State again as the Integrity Group which had earlier pressed for the prosecution of former governor of the state and Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi, for corruption has recanted, saying the former governor was framed by Governor Nyesom Wike.

While the All Progressives Congress (APC) has hailed the development as a vindication of Amaechi, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has called the Executive Director of Integrity Group, Livinstone Wechie, a turn-coat and called on the Senate to summon and prosecute him for perjury.

This as the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) dissociated itself from Wechie who also claimed membership of the CLO.
Wechie had, in a live programme “Focus Nigeria” on Africa Independent Television (AIT) monitored in Port Harcourt yesterday, accused Wike and the Rivers State government of fabricating documents with which it had discredited Amaechi for corruption.

He said documents presented by the state government to the Justice Georege Omereji-led judicial commission of inquiry that indicted Amaechi of corruption were forged.

Also in a statement issued yesterday on behalf of the Integrity Group, Wechie said the group had petitioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) in 2015 “demanding the investigation and prosecution of Amaechi over a then falsely believed conversion of Rivers monies/proceeds of the purported sales of state assets including power plants, a certain Karibi Whyte Hospital and diversion of some monies from the Rivers State Internal Revenue Service etc.”

He said: “Same petition was addressed to the Senate President which was laid on the floor on August 8, 2015, and I in my capacity as the Executive Director of the Integrity Group appeared upon invitation before the Senate Committee on Public Petitions, Ethics and Privileges on October 12, 2015.”
He said he had believed the documents then to be true but has now realised they were forged and fabricated to indict Amaechi.

“In the coming days we shall unleash all the grand criminal violations which Wike has visited on our state so that stakeholders can take stock and decide on the urgent steps needed to salvage our beloved state.

“Finally, we call on the general public and all relevant institutions to disregard all documents tendered by our organisation indicting Amaechi including particularly the so-called Omereji report and the subsequent white paper by the Rivers State government as all documents tendered were all politically fabricated and forged by the Wike government to achieve his unrighteous end,” Wechie stated.

The state chapter of the APC has reacted by saying that Amaechi has been vindicated by Wechie’s testimony.
The state Publicity Secretary of the APC, Chris Finebone, said: “It is always our position in Rivers APC that every lie has an expiry date. Today, all the lies and falsehood perpetrated against Amaechi by Wike and the PDP expired with ignominy.

“No better vessel would have conveyed the message of shame than Wechie himself having been the arrowhead of Wike and PDP on their self-appointed mission to destroy the impeccable image of Amaechi.”

But the CLO, which Wechie claimed to also represent during the live interview, has dissociated itself from him and urged security agencies to investigate the activist.
A statement issued by the South-south Zonal Chairman of the CLO, Uchegbu Karl Chinedu, said Wechie was not speaking for the organisation.

The statement said: “We take exception to the claims by Wechie, that he was the face of the CLO in the South South. This claim is just a figment of his imagination, as he was merely appointed a Deputy Director on Publicity as a result of his closeness to the mass media (special assistant to the zonal chair), a position from which he has long since removed. The face of CLO in the South south zone, as in other zones remains the Zonal Chairman, while the Zonal Director or Zonal Administrative Secretary, ZAS, takes charge of the administration of the zonal office.

“Wechie admitted in his live appearance that he told lies on behalf of his Integrity Group and not on behalf of CLO. We therefore urge the relevant agencies to further investigate these lies and do the needful. It is important to state that we stand on the actions and interventions we made in the past as they were made in the interest of the public and the suffering masses.

“CLO has remained resolute in its campaign for enthroning good governance, protecting democracy and human rights. All our interventions have fallen under these mandates and we do not owe apologies to any one. CLO views the antics of Wechie and his paymasters as infantile and shocking.”

The state chapter of the PDP has also called on the Senate to summon and prosecute Wechie for the “lies.”
The state Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr. Samuel Nwanosike, told journalists in Port Harcourt: “I want to state clearly that from what we have seen today, men who lack integrity and character ought not to be taken seriously. This same Wechie swore to an oath in 2015 before Senator Anya that he was not sponsored by anybody. That anything he had said was based on his investigation.

“What happened today showed that when a man is hungry, he can be able to eat from the gutters. One of the issues he raised was the Karibe Whyte Hospital. Is it that there was no Clinotec that came in the name of building 1,000-bed hospital and nothing was built. The question we are asking is that did Clinotech not rip off the state in the contract?

“All he said today was aimed at laundering the image of Amaechi. I am calling on the Senate to know that the document he presented to them belongs to him. With the current development, it showed that Livingstone lied on oath and the Senate should summon him. If he is being compelled to do what he had just done, then he should be used as an example because he thinks that Nigerians can be taken for a ride.”