Ike Nnachi, Abakaliki
The Ebonyi State government has explained why it arrested its former agent on Paris club refund, Jackie Ikeotuonye.
A statement by the Special Adviser to Governor David Umahi on Media and Strategy, Chooks Oko, on Monday night said the former agent to the state government on Paris Club fund refund recovery was arrested for possible fraud by the police.
Social media has been awash with Ms Ikeotuonye’s arrest by the police in Abuja on Sunday allegedly on the orders of Mr Umahi.
Social Media activist, Deji Adeyanju, had in a post on his Facebook page on Sunday night accused the governor of having a hand in the arrest.
“Dave Umahi who believes in bullying everyone he disagrees with has gotten an innocent woman arrested after she took the State Govt to court and won a case mandating she be paid N30m she was owed. She’s at Garki Police Station in Abuja & they intend to take her to Ebonyi tomorrow,” Adeyanju posted.
But Mr Oko, in the statement, said the Governor has no personal interest in the case as the former agent breached an agreement it had with the state government.
He further alleged that the agent is being investigated for alleged forgery and other criminal activities by the police.
He said: “The attention of the Governor of Ebonyi state, Engineer David Umahi has been drawn to a post circulating around Facebook by one Jackie Ikeotuonye that Governor Umahi ordered her arrest over garnishee orders against the Government of Ebonyi State.
“Nothing could be more satanic, misleading and outrightly fallacious than such an insinuation. The truth of the matter are as follows.
“Sometime in 2015, Ikeotuonye approached Ebonyi State Government through her company, Andrew Bishopton Ltd requesting to serve as agents to help the State Government recover her share of Paris club refunds for a fee.
“The State Government gave them the contract but called for a review when the Governors, under the aegis of Nigerian Governors Forum, collectively made an alternative arrangement that later yielded fruits.
“Having done nothing for the State Government, the contract with Andrew Bishopton Ltd was terminated but Ikeotuonye quickly ran to a former President who intervened and got the State to pay her fifty million naira as final settlement. An agreement was signed to that effect,” he said .
Mr Oko said that Ms Ikeotuonye, in a surprising move, surreptitiously sued the State and got garnishee orders for a non-existent thirty billion naira debt.
He noted that seeing this breach of contract, the State Government moved, got the order quashed and duly reported the matter to the police.
“It is thus the Police that is investigating Ikeotuonye for forgery among other issues. They are the ones holding her in line with their duty, in view of the criminal offence she has committed.”
“For the avoidance of doubt, Governor Umahi has no hand in the matter as it is strictly her case with the Ebonyi State Government and the security agencies,” Mr Oko said.
The media aide noted that her cheap blackmail against the Governor is not only ill-advised but would ultimately aid her conviction for the offences she had committed.