SERAP asks CCB, ICPC to probe Okorocha over ‘N1bn statues of Zuma, Johnson-Sirleaf’

Gov. Rochas Okorocha‏
Gov. Rochas Okorocha‏ [Photo Credit: Twitter - @GovernorRochas]

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, (SERAP) has asked Muhammad Isah, acting chairman of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), and Bolaji Owasanoye, acting chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to “jointly investigate allegations of incompatibility and/or apparent conflict of interest situation, and abuse of office involving Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State in connection with the exercise of his public functions and leadership of the Rochas Okorocha Foundation, and to collaborate with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in any such investigation.”

The organization said “Such investigation would help to improve public confidence in public authorities, and minimize the risks of bad government by public officials.”

In the petition dated 10 November 2017 and signed by its executive director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, SERAP expressed “serious concern that Governor Okorocha may have spent over N1 billion of public funds to build statues of South African President Jacob Zuma and Liberian President Mrs Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.”

According to the organization, “the spending on statues and apparent misuse of public resources may have violated constitutional provisions and international standards on code of conduct for public officers. The initiatives cannot be justified under any circumstances whatsoever, especially at a time when Imo state is unable or unwilling to pay teachers’ salaries and pensioners’ entitlements.”

The petition copied to Ibrahim Magu, acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) reads in part: “Inviting Zuma and Johnson-Sirleaf to attend the opening of his Foundation and then ‘honouring’ them with statues suggests abuse of office and apparent conflict of interest situation, as such acts were undertaken by Governor Okorocha in the exercise of his public functions to presumably promote and advance the commercial and other interests of the Foundation.”

“SERAP believes that rather than serving the common interest of the public, spending over N1 billion possibly of public funds on Zuma and Johnson-Sirleaf in the context of their participation in the opening of the Rochas Okorocha Foundation would seem to put Governor Okorocha in a conflict of interest situation.”

“SERAP notes that the Nigerian Constitution 1999 (as amended) and UN Convention against Corruption to which Nigeria is a state party prohibit conflict of interests and set ethical standards for public officers. Indeed, both the Constitution and the Convention require public officers to abstain from all acts that may compromise the exercise of their public office and functions, or are inconsistent with their entrusted positions.”

“Public officers also must discharge their public duties truthfully and faithfully, abide by the constitutional code of conduct, observe the primacy of public interest, and not allow their personal interest to influence their official conduct.”

“The CCB and ICPC should carry out joint investigation in collaboration with the EFCC of the allegations of conflict of interest, abuse of office and apparent misuse of public funds by Governor Okorocha. SERAP also urges the CCB and ICPC to prosecute Governor Okorocha after leaving office if there is relevant and sufficient admissible evidence of abuse of public office against him.”

“Conflict of interest represents a situation where the person exercising a public function has a personal interest of patrimonial or commercial nature, which could influence the objective fulfilment of the duties incumbent on public officers under the Constitution and international standards.”

“Conflict of interest arises from a situation in which a public official has a private interest which is such as to influence or appear to influence the impartial and objective nature of his or her official duties in order to promote private interests, which would be contrary to the public interest.”

“According to reports, Governor Okorocha recently hosted two African presidents—South African President Jacob Zuma and Liberian President Mrs Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and built statues in Owerri to ‘honour’ them. The statues reportedly cost over N1 billion to build. Further, a Memorandum of Understanding between the Zuma Foundation and the Rochas Foundation was signed, while Mrs Johnson-Sirleaf visited the newly established Rochas Foundation College of Africa (ROFOCA).


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  • God dey

    Oh my God! Statues of corrupt African presidents? For what? And teachers and pensioners not paid! What a joke of a wasted generation. In another society the guy would voluntarily resign but not in my beloved Nigeria

    • Opekete

      Zuma corrupt? Yes. Sirleaf? No evidence. Why Okorocha will not come public about the funding of this apparently unnecessary project surprises the daylight out of me.

  • KBE

    What is your business in this, afterall his slaves (imolites) are not complaining. My people my people, their governor, their governor. This is part of the investment he promised them.

  • thusspokez

    It is sad that Nigerian politicians turn their office into private enterprise. And the check,. i.e., legislative arm of government is non existent in Imo state. The executive seems to do what its pleases without any scrutiny from the state legislature. Yet Nigerians often would jump to blame systems and structure and not the people in charge of them.

  • emmanuel

    This man should undergo psychiatric test. His acts are more like one who has psychiatric problem.
    The constitution written by one man for Nigerians has been set aside by Buhari, so everyone does what they like now.

    • thusspokez

      You Nigerians are always blaming the wrong person or people. This is why you are unable to solve your problems.
      This is a local or Imo problem, and yet you are blaming Buhari and letting off the the governor and the legislators who are supposed to keep the governor in check.

      • Ubong

        Dont mind him. Probably the only area the President is involved is his lack of action against the likes of AGF and the BARU because of APC membership. Ordinarily this is imo state issue and notbing to do with Buhari

  • Frank Bassey

    Don’t waste your time. Do you want PMB to constitute an investigative team headed by the VP? Okorocha is an APC Governor. Nobody can attempt that.

    • Ubong

      SERAP should stop unnecessary fruitless noise making in Nigeria. What is the outcome of GMD NNPC singlehandedly awarding $25billion contracts and approved without acting President knowledge, only for acting President to lied and contradicted himself by recanting his first public statement of not being aware of the contracts. What is the outcome of Mainagate, why is the AGF and Dambazzu still ioccupying their position if their corrupt action led to Maina being sacked by the President, yet we are fighting corruption. SERAP know nothing will happen to okorocha if imo state subjects are docile. Its not Buhari or alphabet APC problems but the docility iof imo state voters accepting whatever their son throw at them as governance.

  • TAWANDA INCOMMUNICADO

    No need to blame OKOROAWUSA the crook, blame should go to the people of Imo state who are behaving like a clan of nincompoops . They elected a 419er , now they are paying the price and they are powerless because he must finish his term.

  • Ishaku isaac

    Haha ha….. Civilized Igbo leader?! He will soon erect the statue of Mugabe next Zuma’s.
    This is happening amongst the so-called most civilized groups in Nigeria. What an irony?!