The immediate past governor of Imo State, Senator Rochas Okorocha has been indicted for alleged misappropriation of N6, 044, 774, 341. 37 being fund allocated to the State Oil Producing Area Development Commission (ISOPADEC).
This was contained in a report presented to the State Governor, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha by the committee set up to investigate the activities of the commission from May 2011 to May, 2019.
Presenting the report at the Exco Chamber, Government House, Owerri, yesterday, the committee Chairman, Romanus Ezeogu said, “it is indeed painful to note that citizens and some Managing Directors colluded with the immediate past Governor, Rochas Okorocha to misappropriate the funds of ISOPADEC with impunity.
“The administration of Rochas Okorocha handled the funds of ISOPADEC within his eight years tenure from the pit of wickedness. The short-fall in revenue accrual from the Federation Account; uncounted for stood at N6, 044, 774, 341. 37.”
The panel also accused Okorocha of arbitrarily releasing part of the ISOPADEC fund to purchase vehicles and transformers for political campaigns and also diverting over N311 billion being total sum of funds accrual to the commission from Bailout fund, Paris Club foreign loan, LGA joint labour salary/pension, and Secondary Education Management Board Account, among others.
It said that despite the huge funds that came into the commission, “the wage bill of the commission stood at N93, 619, 268.00 as at May, 2019.”
The panel said, “the issue here begs for explanation on what happened to the original 40 per cent monthly derivation fund allocated to the ISOPADEC. Rochas Okorocha should roundly be held responsible for the entire fund missing.”
The committee also indicted two members of House of Representatives for their alleged involvement in the misappropriation of the ISOPADEC funds.
In his response, Ihedioha appreciated the painstaking efforts of the panel and promised to look into the report with a view to passing a white paper to that effect.
The governor reiterated the commitment of his administration towards due process, accountability and transparency.
He said, “going forward, it is important we get through what happened in the past if we must reposition the commission for a more efficient delivery towards realising its mandate.
“It is important to note that this is not a witch-hunt. I assure a sense of justice while implementing this recommendations after the white paper must have been submitted.”