Some civil servants in Abia State have exposed Governor Okezie Ikpeazu’s led administration over alleged ongoing illegal mass sales of government vehicles and other properties in some government ministries and Parastatals, ahead of 2019 general elections.
Newsmen gathered that apart from Secondary Education Management Board (SEMB), the mass auctioning is alleged to also been going on in many ministries like in ministry of Local Government affairs and Ministry of Youth Development.
In SEMB, newsmen learnt that the alleged illegal auctioning started since three months ago when the new Executive Secretary Sir Lawrence Ogbonna resumed office. Our source also revealed that these alleged fraudulent sales are not being documented for record purposes.
According to reports, an eyewitness who does not want her name to be mentioned, “He has bought off all the vehicles at the Zonal offices. What is left now are the ones at the headquarters. There is no memo to that effect and every vehicle there are off. It’s only one person buying all the vehicles, that is his younger brother with a fictitious name, which is a clear violation of the state procurement law. We’re only concerned and want Abians to know that all government vehicles are being bought off just few months to the election” the source disclosed.
She also alleged that only two vehicles are left which she claimed is not enough to run the operation of the Zonal activities, adding that it will affect invigilation and supervision activities in the board. “Even the Directors don’t have operational vehicles. Their official vehicles are being sold without their notice. These are people that are being owed a minimum of seven months salaries and twelve months leave allowances. Nothing is being said about it. All we see is the sale of government vehicles and the workers themselves are not taken care of. Their welfare is not given any attention” she alleged.
She claimed that it’s only the Executive Secretary and his personal assistant and the DF, that are overseeing to the alleged fraudulent auctions, exonerating the former Director of Transportation, Dr. Nkadiuba DC whom she said has been posted to Umuahia Zonal office as a DA of any knowledge of the illegal auctioning. “The Chief Driver and the Head of of Works are against the auctioning. The name of the DA is Mrs. Ekwuruibe while the Chief Driver goes by the name Mr. Eluwa. Even the Head of Stores one Dimgba David is against it” she said.
She also claimed that other high level officers say they’re ignorant of the sales, since there is no document to back up the sales, insisting that the vehicles have been sold, paid for and moved out of the premises of SEMB.
The vehicles which according to her, number about 17, comprises of 4 from each of the three zones and 5 in the headquarters, are made up of 504 salon cars and buses, one of which was brought through the Senator representing Abia Central, T.A Orji through Education Trust Fund (ETF).
“The present government under Governor Okezie Ikpeazu has not bought any new vehicle for us since 2015, why are they selling off the few we are managing?, our source querried.
The Zonal offices are Umuahia Zonal office located in Umuahia, Aba Zonal office located in Aba and the Ohafia Zonal office located in Ohafia, where she claimed the vehicles were removed from.
Speaking with Journalists also, the Director (Admin) SEMB, Mrs. Helen confirmed that the auctioning is ongoing but said it is official and it’s being documented.
Although she initially declined making comments on the alleged illegal auctioning, instead directed our correspondent to the Executive Secretary, but on further enquiries, she denied knowledge of any illegal sale of government vehicles at the Zonal offices but said that she only works at the headquarters where she confirmed that all the operational vehicles are intact.
“I don’t know about the zones but the ones at the headquarters are still intact. I just spoke with the Head of Transportation this morning (Monday) but he didn’t give me the impression that some vehicles have been auctioned. The vehicles that are being auctioned are not in good working condition, but they are serviceable. If they were in good condition, why do we need to auction them” she explained.
Mrs. Helen stated that her office is not in the custody of the documentation of the official vehicles auctioning, insisting that our correspondent should have a schedule with the Executive Secretary for further clarification.
When contacted, the Abia state Commissioner for Information, Chief John Okiyi Kalu directed our correspondent to Governor Okezie Ikpeazu’s media aide Ikechukwu Iroha.
In his response, the Senior Special Assistant to Governor Okezie Ikpeazu on Media and Publicity, Ikechukwu Iroha said there’s nothing wrong with SEMB auctioning out old and faulty vehicles to create space in the offices. He alleged that opposition political parties want to make what he called mischief out of the process. “If SEMB is auctioning old and faulty vehicles that should not be allowed to decay or block offices as practiced by even private organizations, what then concerns the Governor if not that people will want to make mischief out of it?