The Rivers State government on Friday directed the state Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Chinwe Aguma, SAN, to begin the process of prosecuting the former Governor Rotimi Amaechi and two others over the sale of the state’s four gas turbines without due process.
This is as Governor Ezebunwo Nyesom Wike ordered the suspension of permanent secretaries and other top civil servants indicted by the report of the Justice George Omereji-led Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the sales of valued assets of the state during the immediate past administration.
Briefing newsmen at the end of the state executive council meeting where the White Paper on the Commission’s report was issued, the commissioner for Housing, Barrister Emma Okah, said Amaechi would be prosecuted along with the former commissioner for Finance, Dr. Chamberlain Peterside and his counterpart in the Ministry of Power, Sir Augustine Nwokocha.
Okah stated that the state government also ordered the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, to commence the recovery of funds realized from the sale of the four gas turbines from the former governor and Nwokocha.
He said, “You will agree with me that the Omereji commission had several terms of references and wqe will be taking them one after the other. The first term of reference is to ascertain the sale of the Omoku 150 megawatts gas turbine; Afam 360 megawatts gas turbine; Trans-Amadi 136 megawatts gas turbine and the Eleme 75 megawatts gas turbine by the administration of former Governor Rotimi Amaechi.
“The commission finds as a fact that the sale of 70% equity from the First Independent Power Limited in Omoku gas turbine, Trans-Amadi gas turbine, Afam Phase I gas turbine and Eleme gas turbine, have been very difficult to justify. They have therefoe recommended the review of sale of the power assets and the government of Rivers State has accepted that recommendation.
“Refund of proceeds by Rotimi Amaechi , Chamberlain Peterside, and Augustine Nwokocha. In furtherance of this findings that the sale of the four gas turbines was unjustifiable and against the interest of the government and people of Rivers State.
“The commission recommends that the former governor of Rivers State, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, along with his former commissioners for Finance and Power , Dr. Chamberlain Peterside and Augustine Nwokocha, respectively, should be held to account for their roles in the sales of the power generation assets of First Independent Power Limited and the disbursement of the proceeds there from.
“Government accepts this recommendation and directs the office of the Honorable Attorney-General and commissioner for Justice, to promptly set in motion the appropriate machinery for the recovery of the proceeds of the sale of the gas turbines from the former governor, Rotimi Amaechi, and every other persons implicated in the commission’s report.”
Okah stated that the state government has directed the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice to recover the three billion from former commissioner for Agriculture, Emma Chinda, which were meant for agricultural free loans to farmers.
He further stated that former commissioner for Health, Dr. Sampson Parker is also expected to refund some billion of naira that was used without due process for the construction of the Justice Karibi-Whyte Hospital while the former commissioner for Transport, George Tolofari and former military Governor of Old Rivers State, General Anthony Ukpo are to join Amaechi in returning N33 billion spent on the state monorail project without passing through due process.
Reacting to the development, the secretary, Media and Publicity Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, Hon. Godstime Orlukwu described the decision of the state government to issue a White Paper of the Omereji report as a non issue.
Orlukwu stated that Amaechi, who is the leader of the party in the state, will definitely meet the state government in court, when it fulfills its promise to prosecute the former governor, saying, “It is a non-issue. Let them begin the prosecution; there is no problem, we will meet them in court.”