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Enugu group alleges fraud, demands Enugu council boss’ probe

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By Millicent Onaga, Enugu

An anti-corruption group under the aegis of ‘Save Oji River Initiative’ has dragged the incumbent chairman of Oji River Local Government Area of Enugu state Hon. Frank Udemezue, to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, over  alleged  misappropriation and diversion  of public funds.

The group asked the anti-graft agency to as a matter of urgency, investigate the alleged abuse of office, misappropriation and diversion of public funds by the Oji River council boss.

In a statement signed by its convener, Okah Kingsley, the group said it is concerned that despite the huge allocations coming into local council on monthly basis, there is no accountability, yet, no age group, association, elders’ forum or even Oji River professional groups has questioned how their money is spent.

According to the statement, there is a “Donation list of the reckless Enugu West political rally christened Ifemelu-mma, where a local government chairman who failed to fix even a single primary school in his village donated public money to an empty adventure.

“From the information gotten from handlers of the said rally, Hon. Frank donated N6m not N3m as he warned them to tout only N3m to avoid public outburst,” the group alleged.

The group insisted that “Without any form of prejudice coupled with preponderance evidence indicting Frank Udemez, Ndi Oji River should ask Frank what he used the funds budgeted in the 2020 and 2021 fiscal plans for.” 

The statement further read, “Surprisingly, some of the information we got over the last two weeks revealed a lot of shady deals taking place under Frank: a Financial Officer in the local government told us how Frank settles one government house ally (the person that forced his name to the governor) with N10m-N15m every month. He pays him based on the size of the allocation that enters.

“We are equally dismayed to learn that no financial transactions of the council passes through the bank since Frank came on board. He rather carries cash around and throws it around recklessly in the manner Boko Haram throws bomb.

“We equally learned that Frank boasts that Governor of Enugu state got his back but we will help Frank to share to both local and international communities how mindless and wicked a leader could be to abandon his core duty to pursue flippancy and inanities.”

The group vowed that, “Save Oji River will not hesitate to drag the state government into this whole matter if it come in-between this push to expose a prodigal son for whom he is.

“We are glad to forge stronger front with reliable communities and experts ready to liberate Oji River from this contracted scandal linked to one amorphous ally in the government house as EFCC will storm Oji River Local Government headquarters anytime now.”

However, when contacted on the phone for comment on the allegation, the Oji River Council boss said, “Each time I hear what some group are saying about me, that they want to go to EFCC, that’s fine, that is what I have signed since am a public servant and I am waiting for invitation from EFCC. They have every right to say whatever or go to wherever they want to go.”

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