Former Rivers State governor, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, has debunked the allegation that N53 billion was missing from the state Reserve Fund, under his administration.
Amaechi had described the Justice Omereji –led Panel of Inquiry, set up by Governor Ezebuwon Nyesom Wike, to probe his administration, as a last-ditch effort to blackmail him.
Amaechi, who spoke through his media office, in a statement signed by Bekee Anyalewechi, said: “The mischief is all the more evident, as the funds referred to are funds from the Rivers State Reserve Fund, which was duly approved by the Rivers State House of Assembly, and whose expenditures were duly captured and accounted for.”
The statement, however, said that the ongoing mudslinging against him was aimed at diminishing the former governor’s towering stature, as a statesman and honest Nigerian.
According to the statement also, every expenditure made of the Reserve Funds was approved by the extant laws, adding that Amaechi also explained the purposes for which they were used.
The statement read in part: “The attention of the media office of former Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, has been drawn to a statement credited to the chairman of Mr. Nyesom Wike’s invidious panel of inquiry. The statement, credited to the panel’s chairman Justice Omereji of a missing N53 billion is unfortunate and leaves much to be desired. The mischief is all the more evident as the funds referred to are funds from the Rivers State Reserve Fund which was duly approved by the Rivers State House of Assembly, and whose expenditure were duly captured and accounted for.”
It continued: “Ordinarily, we might not have responded to the mischief of Mr. Wike knowing that having failed with his various desperate tactics to stop the nomination of the Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi as a minister, he has embarked on this last-ditch effort, which is his trump card in the hope that it will diminish the former governor’s towering stature as a statesman and honest Nigerian. However, in keeping with former Governor Amaechi’s ethos of transparent and accountable leadership, we will again repeat the facts of the matter.
“Between 2013 and early 2015, revenue accruing to the Government of Rivers State was cut in half due to dwindling federal allocation to states. From about an average of N20 billion, the state began receiving between N9 and N10 billion. By the middle of the first quarter of 2015, the state revenue dipped to as low as N6 billion. Salaries alone stood at over N9 billion besides other expenses. Government had set aside, the reserve funds as a rainy day fund and had need to fall back to it to fund salaries and projects. The details of the expenditure were very clearly captured and this information, which was already in the public domain was shared with the incoming administration and the Omereji panel.”