How Ikpeazu PDP-lead govt transferred N10bn Airport funds into 32 private accounts

The governor stated that the funds had already been transferred out of the state government account before approaching the Abia State House of Assembly for permission.

Governor Alex Otti of Abia State has accused his predecessor, Okezie Ikpeazu, of diverting N10 billion intended for the construction of an airport in the state into 32 separate corporate accounts before it was dispersed.

Governor Otti said he would soon make public the forensic audit report, which accused the previous administration of diverting billions of dollars in state cash intended for projects to individual firm accounts.

The governor said that the money had already been transferred out of the state government account before they approached the Abia State House of Assembly for approval.

Offering more clarification on the auditing during his monthly media chat tagged “Governor Alex Otti Speaks to Abians” held at Government House Umuahia on Thursday, he noted that the denial of the former governor was not unexpected.

Governor Otti said that it was reported in the media, that instead of denying spending the fund, they then claimed that they used it for road construction which is against the evidence available.

He noted the management of the company, FEROTEX Construction Company, has admitted that the company never applied to be awarded the aborted airport project under the past administration

However, Otti said that when the report would eventually be published, the rest of the work would be handled by security agencies, insisting also that his interest is for the money to be refunded rather than taking anyone to jail.

The governor said, “The immediate past governor’s denial is not unexpected. When it was announced, they went to the media abusing the government and saying that the government lied.

“It is a report by KPMG which says that they diverted the money into roads. In the bank statement on the 26th of September 2020 when people were dealing with COVID-19, a debit went into the state account for N10 billion and it was payment for an 80 per cent contract of the Abia airport.

“It’s true and incontrovertible. The statement is there, the report is there. By the way, the report will be published very soon.

“But I can assure you that as reported by the media, it’s KPMG that did the forensic audit.

“So, clearly something went wrong. Our engagement with the company that received the money gives the impression that the company was deceived.

“The Managing Director of the company said that he told them that he had never built an airport before and that it is not his area of competence neither did he apply to them to construct an airport.”

He further stated that his government was not bordered over the defections in droves by PDP members to APC in the state, adding that those that should be worried were the remnants of the PDP.

He affirmed that both members of the PDP and other political parties are joining him in the Labour Party.

He said, “Our government is the government of the people. What is important for us is to give good governance and that is what we are doing.”

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