Former Imo State Governor Emeka Ihedioha has asked an Owerri High Court to stop the House of Assembly from probing him for allegedly mismanaging N19.63 billion council funds.
The state Auditor-General for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs had issued an interim audit report detailing how N19.63 billion fraudulently disappeared from the Local Government accounts between May and December 31, 2019.
Apparently worried that the House of Assembly may probe the allegation, Ihedioha applied for a perpetual injunction restraining it from investigating him.
In May 5 suit filed at the Owerri Judicial Division, the former Governor, through an origination summons, is seeking an order of perpetual injunction restraining the House of Assembly from inviting him for an investigation into the alleged missing funds.
Imo State House of Assembly, the Speaker and Clerk are the defendants.
The suit is also seeking an order to set aside any summon or invitation to Ihedioha, by the House or its agents, to appear before it for probe.
Two days after the originating summons was filed, Ihedioha’s lawyer, S.A Anyalewechi, dispatched a letter to the Speaker, asking him to restrain the House and its agents from inviting his client for an investigation.
Imo State government had on April 14 approved a request by the Auditor-General for Local Governments and Chieftaincy Affairs to recover N19.63billion allegedly misappropriated by the Ihedioha administration.
The money was allegedly taken from the State-Local Government Joint Accounts Allocation Committee (JAAC) through the Bureau for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs (BLGCA).
Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Declan Emelumba, said in a statement that the sum was discovered during a routine audit of the accounts and records of JAAC for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019.
He said the government’s action was in line with the New Imo Agenda of transparency in public service and financial discipline.
According to the Commissioner, the money was illegally withdrawn from JAAC account without any Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), Stores Receipt Vouchers (SRV) or Stores Issue Vouchers (SIV).
He alleged that the Ihedioha administration paid a “crony” N1.215 billion for unsupplied construction equipment without any document.
“There was also an unconscionable mandatory withdrawal of N2.405illion by the Bureau for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs (BLGCA).
“Others are payment of N9.378billion to Local Government councils for an undisclosed purpose.”
Emelumba said a firm received N245 million for no disclosed purpose.
“Other fictitious and fraudulent withdrawals include compulsory returns or kickbacks from Local Government Councils to the BLGCA to the tune of N2.404billion.
“This was deducted from the allocated funds of the LGAs,” he said, among others.