Olusola Fabiyi and Chukwudi Akasike
The Integrity Group has declared that it relied on documents, which were forged, to send petitions to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission on alleged corrupt activities of a former governor of Rivers State, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi.
It said that its petition to the anti-corruption agencies, alleging corruption against Amaechi, the current Minister of Transportation, dated July 29, 2015, was based on forged documents.
The Executive Director of the Integrity Friends for Truth and Peace Initiative, a.k.a The Integrity Group, Mr. Livingstone Wechie, stated this at a press conference in Abuja on Monday.
The group’s petition to the anti-graft agencies was titled ‘Corruption, criminal breach of trust, unlawful enrichment and conversion of over N70bn state resources by former governor, Rotimi Amaechi, and other functionaries.’
The petitioners demanded the investigation and prosecution of Amaechi over what they then believed was the conversion of Rivers’ funds and proceeds of the purported sales of state assets, including power plants, a certain Karibi Whyte Hospital and the diversion of money from the Rivers State Internal Revenue Service.
The same petition was also addressed to the Senate President which was laid on the floor of the Senate on August 8, 2015.
Wechie, in his capacity as the Executive Director of the Integrity Group, appeared before the Senate Committee on Public Petitions, Ethics and Privileges on October 12, 2015.
But speaking at the press briefing on Monday, the activist admitted that he and his colleagues were misled, even though he maintained that they took the action in good faith.
He added, “It is important to note that although all matters touching on the allegations levelled against Rotimi Amaechi were part of our good governance and transparency projects done in good faith in line with our principles, unfortunately, the Nyesom Wike-led Rivers State Government cashed into it and mischievously furnished us with all politically-fabricated and forged documents, which we sincerely and honestly worked with in good faith, wrongly believing same to be genuine.
“May we state that our organisation, in all honesty, relying on those documents unknown to have been forged and fabricated by the Wike-led Rivers State Government, subsequently advised the Rivers State Government to set up a Panel of Inquiry to investigate these allegations among others accordingly as part of our quest to get justice for the good people of Rivers State.
“The panel did its work and submitted it report to the governor, unknown to the world that it was all politics and documents tendered were fabricated and forged out of sheer desperation to indict Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi and paint him black at all costs for selfish reasons.
“This is one reason among others that the Wike-led River State Government, having mischievously achieved its aim of diminishing Amaechi, is still unable, two years after, to commence prosecutorial actions as of right against Rotimi Amaechi, knowing that the documents will be challenged having been forged.”
He claimed that Wike and his government rode on the wings of the “politically-fabricated corruption stigma on Amaechi to become governor and continues to rule with same antics of abusing Amaechi as state policy.”
Wichie accused Wike of violating and abusing almost all sections of the Public Procurement Law of Rivers State, including the budget, which he described as law and bible of fiscal administration.
He said, “For the records and fairly so, as it concerns fiscal policy, the Rotimi Amaechi administration, during its eight years in power, published its appropriation laws (budgets). Yet, days after the Wike government came on board, the state budget, which the Amaechi government left behind was pulled down from the state website and since then, the state budgets have remain the classified document privy to only the governor.
“May we state that just as we questioned the Amaechi government on major fiscal matters during the life of his administration through our various platforms, we shall also not spare the Wike administration, which has shown gross abuse of powers much more than the Rotimi Amaechi administration at an alarming degree,” the activist stated.
Wechie asked Nigerians and the anti-graft agencies to “disregard all documents tendered by our organisation indicting Rotimi Amaechi, including particularly the so-called Omereji Report and the subsequent White Paper by the Rivers State Government as all documents tendered were all politically-fabricated and forged.”
But the state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party has called on the Senate to arrest Wechie, for allegedly lying on oath to the upper chamber in 2015.
The state Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr. Samuel Nwanosike, dismissed Wechie’s claims and recalled that the rights activist, had told the Senate on October 12, 2015 that the documents presented against the immediate past governor of the state were based on his personal findings.
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