Home Business PDP, Gov Ayade Fight Over N100bn Embezzlement Allegation

PDP, Gov Ayade Fight Over N100bn Embezzlement Allegation

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The political battle between the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Cross River state and Governor Ben Ayade, who defected to the All Progressives Congress, APC, from the PDP last year, is taking a different dimension each passing day.

Few days ago, the PDP, in a fresh press release titled ‘On Ayade’s N100 billion loot and the incoherence of his political vuvuzela,’ alleged that the Governor “looted our state treasury to the tune of over N100billion, using three private companies, close family members and allies.”

The release, dated January 4, 2022, signed by the party publicity secretary, Mike Ojisi, and made available to our reporter in Calabar, noted that its conclusion was based on an investigative piece carried out and published by a popular online Nigerian news portal.

“While the state is bleeding financially with most senior citizens retiring from service without compensation as provided in extant Pension laws, a few families and their cronies have continued to feed fat on the public treasury without shame, accountability or remorse. Public services including critical healthcare institutions, educational institutions, public utilities like water supply have become moribund,” the PDP had alleged.

But, responding to PDP’s outburst, the deputy chief press secretary to the Governor, Mr Linus Obogo, described the allegation as ‘beer parlour gossips.’

In press release with the heading ‘PDP shameless rehash of falsehood,’ Obogo said the online portal which published the said report was instead indicting PDP “chieftains who presided over the affairs of the state as governors during the period in focus,” and that the online portal, “in executing its hatchet job, had failed to do due diligence by pushing gossip to the public space as a scoop, which the PDP in Cross River now latches onto as its feeding frenzy.”

He argued that “if 100 Nbillion was allegedly stolen, how was the state able to execute projects, clear pensions, pay salaries and meet other financial obligations?”

Obogo said the PDP was seeking “To deflect attention from the myriads of problems confronting it as a party, such as the zoning controversy, lack of cohesion as well as morphing into a puppet of an offshore godfather.”

PillarToday hereby reproduces both the PDP press release and the state government’s response.

PEOPLES DEMOCRATIC PARTY CROSS RIVER STATE

4/01/2022

Press Statement.

*On Ayade’s #100Billion Loot And The Incoherence Of His Political Vuvuzela*

The attention of our great party, the Peoples Democratic Party, has been drawn to a very serious, indicting, incriminating and mindboggling investigation by Pointblanknews.com wherein the Governor, His Excellency, Senator Ben Ayade reportedly looted our state treasury to the tune of over #100billion using three private companies, close family members and allies.

As sensitive and overwhelming as these allegations appear to be, the Governor through his political vuvuzela tried to downplay the allegations by releasing an incoherent rejoinder calling the publication a sponsored lie against the Governor because of the Governor’s rising Political Profile especially with the recent visit to Ayade by some Northern Governors. To say that the response given to these smearing allegations by the Deputy Chief Press Secretary, Linus Obogo, is undeserving, unbecoming and incoherent, would be an understatement. The rejoinder is at best, shallow, inexplicable and indecorous. 

As a people-oriented Political Party and one that has the inalienable right to demand accountability from the government, we demand explicit explanation to the following. 

1. Who is/are the owner (s) of Leophina Works Limited?

2. Who transferred #100million on 03/05/2019 to Leophina Works limited as Trustfund Pensions and for what purpose?

3. Who is the real owner of Hally Brown International Limited?

4. In 2016, Hally Brown International limited Account 2 No. 707004424 in Access and Leophina Works Limited moved #200million on a concealed exact date, while a similar transaction of #120million was done through same account with the exact date concealed in 2016. Why are these transactions shrouded in secrecy? 

5. Who issued 37 different cheques to Eyo Eyo Ita, in 2018, through Account No. 1014841335 in Zenith Bank and why was eight (8) different cheques of #10million each issued to the same person in one day (2/26/18).

6. Who transferred #520million and #280million 11times on 30/11/2018 to non-existent bank accounts referred to as Loan Account with First Bank.

7. Further evidence shows that the sum of #2.700billion, #2.250billion, #2.229billion were each transferred 11 times on 23/11/2018 bringing the looting to a total of #24,529,887,131.9billion, just in one day. Can the Ayade Government deny this allegation? 

8. Why do the government have a penchant for concealing or deleting dates of fraudulent transactions through the state government? What is the government trying to hide?. 

9. Can the Governor’s Political vuvuzela explain to Cross Riverians why a Credit entry of #70million which was made into CRSG CONSOLIDATED ACCOUNT NO. 2030459287 on an undisclosed date, later showed a purported reversal entry of #70million still on an undisclosed date?

10. On the 28th of July 2017, a debit to CRSG RECURRENT EXP. (FAAC) ACCOUNT NO: 2017445579 of the Sum of #814,337,618.70 was concealed, why? The same happened for the payment/debit on 8/2/2017 in CRSG VAT Account No. 2017445586 suspected to be #805,864,963.44 but diverted. 

Can the incoherent Political vuvuzela give a holistic explanation to the above-mentioned facts, as Cross Riverians are eager to know what happened to our state treasury and Commonwealth. 

While we await further explanations from the Government of Gov. Ayade even when we know that none will come, we call on all anti crime agencies of the Federal Govt  of Nigeria, including the EFCC, ICPC, FIIB, etc to thoroughly investigate these allegations so that they are not swept under the carpet as usual. 

As a political party, The People’s Democratic Party will further take All appropriate steps to ensure that we, equally, as stakeholders in the Cross River State project, file a Petition on all issues with all said Authorities to ensure that nobody is intimidated into silence and submission as has been the case ad infinitum. 

While the state is bleeding financially with most senior citizens retiring from service without compensation as provided in extant Pension laws, a few families and their cronies have continued to feed fat on the public treasury without shame, accountability or remorse. Public services including critical healthcare institutions, educational institutions, public utilities like water supply have become moribund. 

We will not shirk in our responsibility to call out this Government on behalf of the People of Cross River State and demand accountability where it becomes necessary.

Signed.

Prince Mike Ojisi

(State Publicity Secretary PDP)

THE RESPONSE

PDP Shameless Rehash of Falsehood

The Peoples Democratic Party cannot cease wallowing in self-adulation. An archetypical copycat, in its haste to regurgitate, it failed to recognize how unwittingly the same online portal, Pointblanknews, had indicted its chieftains who presided over the affairs of the state as governors during the period in focus.

To underscore the party’s shallowness, which reinforces it laziness to engage in thorough research, it made no pretence in aping exactly the inconsistencies of a news platform that is grossly deficit in integrity and objectivity. It is no surprise then that the party could lend itself to what could best be described as a by-product of beer palour gossip.

But having excited itself by investing its time in lifting the trash pointblanknews had passed off as investigative report, it will be pertinent to expose how patently flawed the PDP is in its attempt to discredit the governor, Senator Ben Ayade.

Pointblanknews, in executing its hatchet job, had failed to do due diligence by pushing gossip to the public space as a scoop, which the PDP in Cross River now latches onto as its feeding frenzy. 

While it seeks to deflect attention from the myriads of problems confronting it as a party, such as the zoning controversy, lack of cohesion as well as morphing into a puppet of an offshore godfather, truth  is, what Pointblanknews and PDP are passing off as an ‘investigative report’, is nothing but a vapid and worthless piece of empty petition authored by the same self-destruct party that has been flying around since July last year and which responsible news media consigned to the trashcan because of irreconcilable inconsistencies therein.  

Had the PDP not been steeped in intellectual lethargy, it would have saved itself the odium of self-indictment by having the presence of mind to realise that the dates the beleaguered party and pointblanknews bandied about as regards to when the alleged sleaze took place fell exactly within the period its chieftains were in charge of the state. 

For example, the PDP and its partner in fabrication, Pointblanknews, alleged that Ayade was a beneficiary of an alleged 10 million naira drawn with a counter cheque from Hally Brown International Ltd in Zenith Bank on April 9, 2015. The question the party failed to answer is, was Ayade governor in April 2015?

Again, the alleged transactions between March 2 and 28, 2015 which the PDP suspected to be money laundering, is another clinical example of self-indictment: Ayade was not governor in March 2015. A PDP governor was still sitting in office. The party owes Cross Riverians details of the said transactions.

On Leophina Works Ltd, the PDP should ordinarily bury its head in shame. It should, however, explain to Cross Riverians who, between 2007 and May 2015 awarded a contract to construct the current office block housing the State House of Assembly members and which company was the beneficiary of the contract.

We have always known that the PDP and its coven of clowns are adept at copy and paste as they lack the vigour of rigorous research. How it got to this low in advertising raw ignorance on a scale it did with the Pointblanknews hogwash beats the imagination.

A further reinforcement of PDP’s sloth is its ignorance or mischief at peddling falsehood about revenue allocations to states which are published religiously. A thorough research would have saved the party the embarrassment of not realising that between May 2015 and December 31st, 2021, Cross River’s net statutory allocation stood at about 115 billion naira. So, if 100 billion was allegedly stolen, how was the state able to execute projects, clear pensions, pay salaries and meet other financial obligations?

When the PDP keeps making references to workers retiring and not getting their pensions, it forgets so soon that when Ayade came on May 29, 2015, Cross River was in default of about three years of gratuities and pensions.

Against this backdrop, therefore, we advise the party not to forget the age-long wise counsel: He who lives in a glass house should not hurl stones.

Rather than dissipate energy trying to impeach the character of Governor Ayade and his government, as a civil and serious minded government, we like to urge the PDP to concentrate on solving the hydra-headed and multi-faceted problems in its fold, namely: the abnegation of its zoning principle which is clearly entrenched in the party constitution, but is threatening to tear it apart, the internecine wrangling within its fold and how to abate the fast depletion of members.

For a party that has literally morphed into a tower of Babel, with members at variance with one another over issues of justice, equity and fairness, its preoccupation at this point in time should not be about vending falsehood, but addressing the aforementioned concerns.

Linus Obogo

Deputy Chief Press Secretary to Governor Ayade

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