By Christopher Isiguzo in Enugu
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Thursday quizzed the chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in Enugu State, Dr. Ben Nwoye over alleged misappropriation of N20.4 million campaign funds.
The arrest further deepened the crisis rocking the party in the state as the embattled chairman identified Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama and Special Adviser to the President on Judicial Reform, Mrs. Juliet Ibekaku as the masterminds of his travails. Nwoye’s invitation by the anti-graft agency was sequel to a petition by the Enugu APC women leaders
Forum led by Ngozi Okoli and Rose Ogbonna as President and Secretary respectively accusing Nwoye of misappropriating the said campaign funds.
Nwoye had, following the invitation, reported to the Enugu zonal office of the anti-graft agency by 10am on Thursday, whereupon he was subjected to several hours of interrogation.
He was however released on bail by 6:47pm same day. Nwoye told newsmen shortly after leaving the EFCC office that the duo of Onyeamah and Ibekaku were behind his arrest vowing however that he would not yield to their main goal which he said was to plunge the party to monumental crisis.
He claimed that his offense was that he once called for the sack of the minister for anti-party activities, while Mrs. Ibekaku was fighting him because she felt he was a stumbling block to her senatorial ambition.
Nwoye insisted that the allegation of financial misappropriation against him was untrue and a trumped up charge by his traducers, who were seeking his removal as chairman of the party in the state.
He said he was initially invited to Benin, Edo State office of the EFCC, before the invitation was re-routed to Enugu for lack of jurisdiction.
“I was invited by EFCC… Upon investigation I came to find out that it was falsehood orchestrated by Juliet Ibekaku working in consonance with Minister of Foreign Affairs in an attempt to remove me from an office I was elected.
“And once again, we were there from around 10am, until about 6.47pm. She (Ibekaku) connived with a Minister who is not a politician to attempt to change the party structure and when that failed, they connived together to put together a fraudulent claim, a malicious claim so that we will be maliciously prosecuted, the end of it is that we shall seek justice,” he alleged.
Nwoye said that on reaching the EFCC office he was confronted with a petition written by two faceless individuals who were not members of his party.
“They used the names of two individuals, they had the name of a lawyer, who put together a two-page petition with the name of petitioner one Ngozi Okoli and another Rose Ogbonna, of Enugu APC women leaders Forum. There is no such forum; our constitution does not recognise the body known as women leaders forum.
“So they used those two individuals and alleged that I was given money to purchase vehicle for women, vehicle for youths, and vehicle for state secretary and I embezzled the money. And they claimed that the money came from the National Secretariat and it was N20.4 million and it was given to me with directives to do that.
“Of course no such thing took place, but because I believe in the system, we believe that the system we put together will have to work for us. The wheel of justice grinds slowly, but those who sponsored it, who orchestrated it, will someday come to answer”.