|report: Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State (right), receiving the report of the Rivers State Commission of Inquiry on the Sale of Valued Assets from the Chairman, Justice George Omereji, at Government House, Port Harcourt, yesterday.|
PORT HARCOURT— Rivers State Commission of Inquiry on the Sale of Valued Assets set up by Governor Nyesom Wike, yesterday, submitted its report, claiming that N53 billion belonging to the state was allegedly diverted by the previous administration.
In a swift reaction, however, the media office of former Governor Rotimi Amaechi, said the purported “missing” N53 billion, was unfortunate and left much to be desired, describing the report as a last ditch trump card “in the hope that it will diminish the former governor’s towering stature as a statesman and honest Nigerian.”
Head of the commission of inquiry, Justice George Omereji, while submitting the report, said the commission received 27 memos and 142 exhibits, while 25 witnesses testified before it.
He called on the state government to act fast on the report, saying: “We hope that the government should act fast and by the time the government looks into this report and acts fast, it will be able to recover billions that are still stashed where they kept them. That money belongs to Rivers people and I hope that the government should act fast and recover the funds so that we can use it for the people of Rivers State.”
Receiving the report, Governor Wike assured that the report would be implemented and that it would not be like other reports of commissions that were not acted upon by previous administrations.
He said: “This will not be like other report. We will make sure that we swing into action immediately to see that the recommendations made by the commission are implemented. We will not be intimidated by anybody or group of persons. Many things have been done to discredit the commission. But for me, it is when your hands are not clean that you begin to use the media to discredit people’s work.”
Speaking with newsmen after the submission, Justice Omereji claimed that N53 billion belonging to the state was allegedly diverted by the previous administration.
He said among other things, the commission recommended that those behind the alleged missing funds should be made to refund them.
He said: “On the billions of naira said to have been stashed away in some places, there was the sum of N55 billion in the State Reserve Fund. Between 2014 and May 2015, they were able to remove N53 billion and we found out that the N53 billion was not used for the projects in the state.
“The money went to individuals. From the papers submitted to us, we also found out that the money was given to people they like. We went to the site of the Justice Karibi Whyte Hospital, we did not see anything at all.”