When investigations into allegations of “gross misconduct” against the Ebonyi State Governor, Chief Martins Elechi, begin, one of the puzzles that will have to be resolved is how he allegedly handed over of one of the state’s choice potential cash cows to his son and in-law.
In defence, the Governor, on Tuesday night, told Daily Times that the allegation, as well as many others that have been levelled against him, were neither immoral nor illegal but an exercise in “belligerent witch-hunt.”
The state House of Assembly last Friday served the Governor a notice of impeachment.
Documents from the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) made available to Daily Times indicate that Elechi incorporated a cement company on behalf of the state, but made his son and in-law shareholders.
In the allocation of shares of the company, incorporated on 9th February 2009, the state’s Ministry of Finance got 50,000,000 shares while Elechi’s son through one Chief Linus Nwamba, a serving coordinator in Ishielu Local Government got 25,000,000. Edon (Nig.) Ltd, represented by Edward Nkwegu, his in-law and Governorship candidate of the Labour Party in the state, received 175,000,000.
His son got 50,000,000 shares in Ebonyi Oil and Gas, the same with the state government, while Nkwegu again got 100 million. Best Southern Global Services Ltd with Chima Ekumankama received 25 million shares while Elechi N. Elechi, his son who is also a Labour Party Senate candidate got 25 million.
In brief, the Governor is being accused of plundering the state to feather the nests of his immediate family and in-laws.
In his reply to the allegations, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Onyekachi Eni told the Daily Times that the allegations were a figment of the imagination of detractors.
Eni traced the setting up of the private companies to the desire of Elechi’s predecessor, Chief Sam Egwu, to boost the state’s
receive the least allocations from the Federation Account.resources being one of those that
He told Daily Times: “There is neither fraud nor wrongdoing by Governor Martin Elechi in the case of Ebonyi Cement Company or indeed any other company. The allegations are politically-motivated.”
He said that the allegations were “being made now as part of a desperate move to impeach Governor Elechi to enable his ambitious Deputy Governor Engr. Dave Umahi and his cohorts take over and hold sway at this election period in order to confer advantage to Umahi and his group in the election for which Umahi is the governorship candidate of the PDP in the state.”
In the Notice of Allegation of Gross Misconduct from the state House of Assembly and signed by 15 lawmakers of the House, a copy of which was made available to the Daily Times, Governor Elechi is accused of using his position to enrich his immediate family and cronies at the expense of the people of the state.
The seven-point allegation included:
- Taking a N3 billion loan in August 2014 from First bank of Nigeria Plc repayable within 11 months on behalf of the state without obtaining necessary consent of the House; and
- Obtaining a N6 billion in 2013 from the United Bank for Africa Plc still without the consent of the House.
The legislators also claimed that the governor spent N6 million to incorporate the Ebonyi Oil & Gas Development Co. Ltd with 200 million ordinary shares in 2013 and surprisingly awarding 100, 000, 000 controlling shares to Edonj (Nig) Ltd represented by one Edward Nkwegu, said to be his in-law, another 25, 000, 000 shares to his son Elechi Nnanna Elechi, another 25, 000, 000 to Best Southern Global while giving the state government a minority shareholding of 50, 000, 000. The lawmakers also claimed that neither Edon nor Nnanna Elechi paid for their shares.
The legislators also alleged that Edon Nig. Ltd abandoned the Ebonyi International Trade Centre which the governor had approved for a sum of N2.4 billion after paying the company about N790 million between June 2008 and April, 2012.
The lawmakers claimed that the said abandonment notwithstanding, the governor still awarded the construction of International Market contract to Edon Nig. Ltd with a sum of N3.6 billion with its completion date fixed for October 2013. That in June that year, the governor approved the increase of the contract sum by additional N1.9 billion and in the following month, approved the increase of the contract sum by a further additional N394 million, without recourse to the House.
The lawmakers claimed that the of the N86 million for exploratory core drilling aimed at ascertaining the quality and quantum of limestone suitable for cement production, and N18 million being funds for the exploratory for incorporating the Ebonyi Cement Co. Ltd with 250 million ordinary shares.