Governor Emeka Ihedioha of Imo State has said that contracts worth hundreds of million naira was awarded without documentation.
He stated this during the Governor and Stakeholders interactive meeting Held at Ahianjoku Center Owerri yesterday. Below is his full speech at the event.
ADDRESS DELIVERED BY HIS EXCELLENCY RT. HON. EMEKA IHEDIOHA, CON, GOVERNOR, IMO STATE TO THE FIRST ENLARGED IMO STATE STAKEHOLDERS MEETING ON THURSDAY, 18TH JULY, 2019.
This is the first enlarged stakeholders meeting since I was sworn -in as your Governor, and Hon. Engr Gerald Irona as Deputy Governor on 29th May, 2019. It is therefore a great honour and privilege to welcome you all. Today’s event is in keeping with our commitment on openness and communication with you to regularly bring you to date with the happenings in our administration particularly the journey so far and some of our plans and challenges going forward. In doing this, we are
open to genuine criticisms and suggestions on how best to serve you
We consider it of utmost importance to lay before you the facts we have met on ground and the enormous efforts required to address them. This is necessary in order to keep the records straight for posterity and for the purpose of making our leaders accountable. In spite of the challenges we have encountered in setting up this new government, the depth of the decay has strengthened our resolve to keep our promise to rebuild Imo and restore its former glory.
When we were campaigning, we honestly underestimated the quantum of rot in the State and the deep hole of corruption and mindless misappropriation perpetuated by the last administration. Contracts were most times awarded orally and without documentation, no paper trail and without the input of relevant government Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
Our interim findings show a consistent pattern of massive looting and stripping of public assets, dismantling and carting away of public property such as electric poles, vehicles, tucks, office equipment and furniture etc. There were last minute illegal sale of government property at giveaway prices and unlawful allocation of land including backdating of Certificates of Occupancy. Instances of mindlessly withdrawing cash from government accounts in commercial banks without due process as well as illegally recruiting and promoting civil servants, are common place.
Unsustainable debts were incurred on behalf of the State running to over a Hundred Billion Naira without anything to show for it, and consequently, saddling the State with a myriad of lawsuits and Garnishee Orders. I must inform you in this regard that, so far we have received over 30 billion Naira worth of Garnishee Orders arising from several ill-conceived and fraudulent contractual agreements deliberately consummated by the past administration, to destroy the future of the State and its teaming population by fettering the State in a humongous debt trap.
These were done to put the new administration in a very difficult situation. In spite of all these, I wish to use this opportunity to appeal to our people to remain patient and show understanding as we will not
let any person no matter how highly placed get away from the long arms of the law without accounting for his misdeeds while in office.
From the Interim findings of the Financial Advisory Committee set up to ascertain the state of the finances of Imo state, several mind boggling, incontrovertible but unsettling facts have emerged.
More revelations are underway as the forensic investigation continues. I have also chosen not to bore you with details and the unpleasant state of the infrastructure we inherited including buildings and equipment.
Yes, we have inherited monumental rot from the immediate past administration, but the reason why we convened this meeting is not to bemoan the unfortunate situation but tell you steps that we have taken in the last few weeks to re-route the State to the part of progress. We shall indeed, overcome.
Even with the serious resource constraints we face, we have decided to adopt innovative approaches to reflate and grow the economy, including as follows:
• Maximize accessing of support from development partners particularly to fund health, water