Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
The new Speaker of the Abia State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Chukwudi Apugo, has announced plans to probe government officials including political appointees based on petitions before the House.
According to a press release by the new new Chairman, House Committee on Anti-Corruption and Public Accounts, Hon. Obinna Ichita, the investigation will be jointly held with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and relevant security agencies.
Ichita (APGA) who was appointed Wednesday by the new Speaker, Apugo, said the Committee had two weeks to submit its report to the House.
He said the Committee was in a hurry to commence its assignment, promising that no stone will be left unturned in the course of its duty.
The lawmaker said that the Committee had received a dossier of petitions against both elected and appointed officials, assuring that there will be no hiding place for anyone found culpable.
The release made available to Ikengaonline said various Ministries, Department and Agencies would be communicated on the days to appear before the committee for questioning regarding any petition affecting them.
It read in part: “Abia State House of Assembly Committee on Anti-Corruption and Public Accounts has received a plethora of petitions alleging various offenses by different elected and appointed functionaries of the State.
“The Committee wishes to use this opportunity to inform all citizens who have sent in petitions that the committee is committed to a quick consideration of their petitions in relations to the Auditor General’s Report and the financial statement of the accounts of Abia State Government.
“In a bid to discharge this duty speedily within the next fourteen days, the Abia State House of Assembly Committee on Anti-Corruption and Public Accounts, will be holding a joint interactive session with the leadership of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), other anti-graft agencies as well as the relevant security agencies.
“The committee is expected to submit the report of its findings in the plenary session of the Abia State House of Assembly.
“The Head of Service of Abia State and all Accounting Officers of the concerned Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Abia State Government will be given further information regarding their various dates and times of appearance before the Committee.”
Ikengaonline had reported that Apugo emerged the new Speaker on Tuesday after some lawmakers impeached Chinedum Orji.
However, few hours after his impeachment, Orji and some lawmakers in his camp impeached the Deputy Speaker, Hon Ifeanyi Uchendu who presided over his impeachment, and announced the immediate suspension of all the lawmakers that participated in the impeachment.
But on Wednesday, Apugo, during a plenary with those in his camp, also suspended Orji and all those loyal to him.
According to Ichita, majority of the lawmakers are backing Apugo.
“We have 16 of us together and Rt. Hon. Apugo remains our validly elected Speaker,” he said.