The immediate past governor of Rivers State, Chibuike Amaechi, has filed a suit at an Abuja High court against the state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, its chairman, Felix Obuah, and two others, over allegations of foreign accounts ownership and embezzlement against him.
The governor is seeking from the party and its officials N300 billion for general damages done to him and defamation of his character, reputation and person.
The PDP had in a statement in August alleged that Mr. Amaechi stole $757million (N80 billion) of Rivers State public funds and stashed them away in an account in his name in Bancorp Bank in Minnesota, United States of America.
It also alleged that the former governor embezzled millions of dollars of Rivers State money and stashed the money in other foreign accounts in his name, including in a bank in Switzerland.
The party said Mr. Amaechi’s foreign accounts were revealed and blown open by Christiane Amanpour of America’s CNN and alleged that Bancorp Bank wrote President Muhammadu Buhari intimating him that part of the funds was to be used to purchase a residence for the former governor in the US and that it (Bancorp Bank) planned to return the stolen funds to Nigeria.
In the suit, Mr. Amaechi stated that each of the said publications by the PDP and its officials “are untrue, false, motivated by ill-will and without any foundations in truth whatsoever.”
He said that they “made the said libellous publications after the party failed the March 28 presidential election and with a view to rubbishing him in the eyes of right thinking members of the society and the persons to whom the said libellous publications have been made.”
In his statement of claims in the suit, Mr. Amaechi said he did not steal the state’s funds neither did he stash them away in Bancorp Bank in the US or in a Swiss bank.
According to him, the US bank did not at any time reveal that he embezzled or misappropriated or connived in the embezzlement and misappropriation of monies meant for Rivers State people and stashed them away in his name.
He said “There exists no letter which the Defendants (PDP, Felix Obuah and two others) had seen written to President Muhammadu Buhari, by Bancorp Bank, Minnesota, United States confirming the existence, lodgment or transfer with the said Bancorp Bank and in Switzerland of the said sum in the name of the Plaintiff (Amaechi) since no such monies were ever looted by the Plaintiff.”
The former governor further stated that ever since the said malicious libellous publications by the PDP and Mr. Obuah to the general public, he had been bombarded and confronted by several persons who expressed lack of respect, loss of faith in him and who no longer regard him as trustworthy and now view him as a common criminal.
He said he had been confronted by persons who disrespected him because of the false accusations, even though he denied committing the several heinous offences which the PDP and its chairman falsely and maliciously accused him of committing.
He said, “By the several said publications the Plaintiff (Amaechi) has been seriously injured in his credit, character and reputation and has been brought into public scandal, odium, contempt and his person, character and integrity lowered in the estimation of right thinking members of the society; the said publications are false and most disparaging of the person of the Plaintiff.”
“The Defendants (PDP, Felix Obuah and two others) have continued with the republication, recirculation and widespread republishing and distribution of the said libelous publications to the general public through the internet leading to deluge of inquiries from the general public and well wishers who have severally confronted the Plaintiff (Amaechi) with the very wild allegations of the Defendants and to which Plaintiff denied any looting or ownership of any looted funds or looting of public funds of Rivers State.”
Mr. Amaechi also stated that he served Rivers State with distinction, initiated and completed numerous public projects and undertook other public infrastructure projects. He said he had never been convicted by any court with either stealing or embezzlement of public funds anywhere in the state or Nigeria or anywhere in the world.