Governor Emeka Ihedioha of Imo State says his predecessor, Rochas Okorocha, operated 250 bank accounts as opposed to the Treasury Single Account being implemented by the Federal Government and many other states.
Ihedioha said of the 250 accounts, 150 were domiciled in Zenith Bank alone while others were scattered across other financial institutions.
The governor said during Okorocha’s eight-year tenure, Imo State lost 150 cases in court which led to punitive damages amounting to N32bn.
Ihedioha said this while meeting with online reporters in Owerri, the Imo State capital, on Tuesday.
He said, “We set up a financial advisory committee led by Abraham Nwankwo, a reputable professional with a good record with DMO (Debt Management Office). Everybody knows he does not take bribes. That is how we found out the state has over 250 bank accounts. I am commencing TSA tomorrow to sanitise the state’s finances.
“When we implement TSA, people will begin to have some sense of confidence in what we do. You were asking about my priority, it is fundamental to restore confidence in governance. The government also wants to prioritise local government autonomy.”
The governor added that the Imo State Government under Okorocha was ordered by several courts to pay N32bn in damages to several individuals and companies, thereby plunging the state deeper in debt.
The former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives said Okorocha failed to take advantage of the Federal Government’s interventions despite being an All Progressives Congress governor.
Ihedioha added, “In the last eight years, Imo did not access any of the Federal Government’s support funds. We did not benefit from any Federal Government’s project and he was chairman of the APC Governors’ Forum.
“He could not attract Federal Government’s projects to the state but instead built a prison and a new police headquarters with billions of naira and handed them over to the Federal Government. He was confiscating land left, right and centre; litigation everywhere.
“We have over 150 court judgments against us. There are over N32bn outright judgments against us. Banks are taking our money as soon as it lands in the accounts. We had some people in government conniving with contractors to get judgments against the state in Abuja.”
The governor said his predecessor, who is from Ogboko in Ideato South, could not even attract development to his own local government.
He added, “In Ideato South Local Government where the former governor comes from, they haven’t had electricity supply for eight years. The man said he was doing concession but state assets were sold off. To who? Himself. You said you sold for N3bn, where are the records of sale? Who did you pay to?
“Have you gone to the state secretariat? There are 10 buildings inside the secretariat. Last week, I just woke up and told my people let’s go to the secretariat. You need to see the place, everywhere was weedy. They have four generators but none was working. Everywhere, they had cluster of all these small generators called ‘I better pass my neighbour’, that’s what they use to power the place.”
But Okorocha denied the allegation that he operated 250 bank accounts when he held sway as governor.
Okorocha, who denied the allegation through his media aide, Sam Onwuemeodo, in Owerri, challenged the governor to make public the details of the bank accounts. Okorocha, who now represents Imo West in the Senate, said he prudently managed the accounts of the state.
According to him, there was no truth that his administration handed over N32bn judgment debt to Ihedioha. Onwuemeodo said, “They are doing all these to discredit the former governor’s achievements but they can’t.
“The governor can’t just make an allegation. His words should be backed with facts. We therefore challenge the state government to make public the details of the so-called 250 bank accounts operated by former governor Rochas Okorocha.”