JUST IN; Group seeks Governor’s probe over alleged N500billion fraud
A human rights organisation operating under the Network Against Corruption and Trafficking has called on the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to look into allegations of financial misconduct and money laundering against Cross River State Governor Ben Ayade.
The group petitioned the anti-graft agencies requesting that they conduct a comprehensive inquiry into the governor’s financial practices and move quickly to see that justice is done.
Ayade reportedly wasted public funds while serving as governor, according to the organisation, which referenced an audit report of the state treasury between 2015 and 2020 at a press conference on Tuesday in Abuja.
The document showed how the governor allegedly used money intended for infrastructure improvement, worker welfare, and other crucial areas for personal gain.
According to NACAT’s spokesperson, Iteveh Ekpokpobe, the audit study revealed that during Ayade’s first term as governor, his administration wasted about N500 billion ($1.2 billion).
Furthermore, he claimed that the governor had engaged in money-laundering schemes by using his personal companies, Leophina Works Limited and Hally Brown International Limited, to divert public funds.
“We are calling on the EFCC and ICPC to immediately commence an investigation into Governor Ayade’s activities while in office.
“The audit report clearly shows that he misused state resources and engaged in financial crimes. We believe that he must be held accountable for his actions and made to face the full wrath of the law”, Ekpokpobe said.
However, when contacted, Christian Ita, Ayade’s chief press secretary, told journalists the allegations were untrue and politically motivated.
He claimed that NACAT was a tool utilised by opposition parties to damage the governor’s reputation.
According to him, “Please, before I respond, kindly do us a favour, and calculate how much allocations have come to the state in eight years. They’re published by the Federal Government. The state hasn’t earned that kind of money in eight years. So, from where did he see N500 million to steal?,” Ita said.
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