The All Progressive Congress (APC) in Abia State has expressed worries on the continued occupation of the office of the Speaker of Abia State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon Chinedum Orji, following his alleged involvement in the misappropriation of the Paris Club Refund currently being investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Recall that the anti-graft commission had grilled Governor Okezie Ikpeazu’s former Commissioner of Finance, Mr.Obinna Oriaku.
Oriaku revealed, in the course of the investigation, that ex-Abia governor, Theodore Orji’s government received the sum of N8.2 billion Paris Club Refund during his tenure without any record to show how the money was utilized.
The ex-finance commissioner also revealed that the past Theodore Orji’s government allegedly imposed two consultants on the current Ikpeazu-led government with 30 and 20 percent consultancy fees respectively.
Orji, now Senator, is the father of the current speaker of the State House of Assembly.
However, in its reaction, the Abia chapter of the All Progressive Congress (APC ), in a release by its Publicity Secretary, Benedict Godson on Tuesday, in Umuahia, advised the leadership of the Assembly against interference.
The APC urged the State Assembly to honorably allow the court to do its job and not to claim to investigate issues that are already in court.
According to the party, “We wish to use this medium to ask Abia State of Assembly led by Rit. Hon. Chinedum Orji to avoid any form of legislative rascality and a disrespect for the judiciary in the ongoing case concerning how Abia Paris Refund was utilized.
“The committee set up by the House to investigate the N22b case already ongoing in court with whatever excuse that it was brought to them by a lawyer or a law firm is unacceptable and a sign of desperation”.
The Abia APC queried, “How can a House led by a Speaker who is purely involved in the case convince a sane person that their purported move to ascertain the validity or otherwise of the allegations raised by Mr. Obinna Oriaku, a former Commissioner for Finance is in the interest of Justice?
Continuing, the party leadership stressed, “Our stand is simple, Abia House of Assembly is not a court of competent jurisdiction. It is a legislative arm of government, its Speaker is directly or indirectly involved in the case.
“We don’t want to dwell on the baseless argument that the Speaker is not the person to chair the investigation committee. All we are saying is that the House of Assembly should not try to interfere in a case that is already in court for whatever reason”.
Concluding, APC added, “Let them stay off the case and should continue with their legislative duties. Let them allow the court to handle the matter, as it has appeared in court as an ongoing case.
“The following suit numbers are all in relation to the case:
Mauritz Walton Nig Ltd v. Abia State
Ziplon concept Ltd v. Government of Abia State
b.AG of Abia state
D. Mauritz Walton (party seeking for joinder).
2. Abia State Government
1.Federal Government of Nigeria
2.AGF of Federation
3.Fed min.of finance
4.Accountant General of Federation
5.Mauritz Walton( party seeking to join).
“Therefore, the best thing Abia State House of Assembly should and must honourably do is to allow the court to do its job and not to claim to investigate issues that are already in court”.
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