A former governor of Rivers State, Chibuike Amaechi, has denied claims ` by his successor, Nyesom Wike, that he vandalised the Government House before he left office.
He also described the plan by the new governor to probe his administration as a “deliberate witch hunt.”
Mr. Wike, who was inaugurated last Friday, had on Tuesday conducted journalists round the Government House during which he claimed Mr. Amaechi vandalised the property.
He had earlier said he would probe the Amaechi administration and ordered the permanent secretaries in the state to submit accounts of past 18 months.
The governor accused some of them of helping the administration to illegally withdraw funds from state government coffers on the eve of May 29.
“I want full details and print out of every ministry’s account in the last 18 months. I will not accept any handover note without an accompanying account details,” Mr. Wike told the permanent secretaries at a meeting.
However, in a statement on Wednesday by his media aide, David Iyofor, Mr. Amaechi lamented that Mr. Wike had gone ahead with his plan of threatening, coercing and blackmailing officials of his administration.
He said civil servants in particular were coerced to make false, phony and bogus statements that would make legitimate government transactions appear as corrupt practices.
Mr. Amaechi urged Rivers people, the media and the public to be watchful, vigilant and discern the fraudulent acts of Mr. Wike to make him and his administration look bad.
He said, “As I noted earlier in a previous statement, Nyesom Wike is going ahead with his plan of attempting to deride and discredit me and my administration, by blackmailing and coercing key government officials including DFAs, Permanent Secretaries and others to twist and distort legitimate government transactions in his desperation to cook up, and fabricate baseless, concocted and unfounded cases of corruption against me and the administration I ran.”
“Only yesterday, Tuesday, Wike tried to threatened, harassed, blackmailed and coerced Permanent Secretaries and Directors of Finance & Administration (DFA) in various ministries, parastatals, agencies etc in the state into doing his bidding of painting Amaechi as corrupt in the administration of the State.
“The State bankers and some of our contractors are also not spared in this his mission of tarnishing the reputation of Amaechi. As a matter of fact, Wike has only one agenda as he governs Rivers State- the agenda to portray me as corrupt, by whatever means no matter how ridiculous and phony it looks”
Mr. Amaechi also described as “a fraud” the video and pictures of the looted and vandalized Government House that Mr. Wike has been showing.
“The images are also a fraud, arranged and executed by Wike to enable him vote billions of Naira from the state treasury to renovate and refurbish the place, while also accusing me of corruption. I repeat, this is clearly a game, a grand conspiracy to siphon state funds under the sub-head of renovating and refurbishing a supposedly ‘vandalized and looted’ Government House, while also falsely smearing my image.”
“Wike said the curtains in the Governor’s residence were looted, but even in his stage-managed images, you could clearly see that the curtains are still intact. I left Government House intact.”
“Rivers people should hold Wike responsible if there’s any looting and vandalism in Government House. There is verifiable information that on May 29, Wike stopped key Government House staff including the Permanent Secretary (who’s the chief accounting officer) from entering the premises, only to shout looting and vandalism 48 hours later.
Why were civil servants, including the most senior civil servant in Government House barred from entering the compound on May 29? Was it to give him time and provide cover to stage-managed the shooting of the fraudulent video that he’s now gleefully showing?” Mr. Amaechi asked.
The former governor further urged the public and the media to disregard the phony images by Mr. Wike as its contents are fraudulent.
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