The Ministry of Finance in Abia State, especially the Salary Verification Unit seems to be in trouble as Abia State Commissioner for Finance, Hon. Obinna Oriaku and another two staff in the ministry Mrs. Charity and one Bala were detained at EFCC office in Rivers State on Tuesday 16th October 2018 based on an allegation of Salary Padding and financial issues. The Commissioner for Finance was later released yesterday 17th October 2018 from EFCC custody, while others are still detained as at press time.
Based on the information we got around 7pm 16thOctober 2018, we were informed that both Honorable Obinna Oriaku and Mrs. Charity were invited by EFCC and detained.
On further investigation, we discovered that both Abia State financial officers were indeed detained at EFCC office in Rivers State for questioning regarding an allegation of salary padding and other financial issues.
On further investigation, we discovered that the petitioner to EFCC is Barrister Guy Okite, an Abia State Commissioner in the Civil Service Commission.
When we called Barrister Okite, he affirmed that he indeed petitioned EFCC on some irregularities in the salary payment in Abia State and he then went on to reveal further;
He alleged that Mrs. Charity collects multiple salary payment from different departments and agencies of government in Abia State, he also alleged that Mrs. Charity’s Son who is also a civil servant also collects multiple salary from different departments and agencies of government.
Barrister Okite told AFN that his petition to EFCC did not include the Honorable Commissioner for Finance, Obinna Oriaku, but on further investigation by the commission, it was discovered that monies were constantly been transferred into the account of Mrs. Charity by the Finance Commissioner.
Based on that, agents of EFCC detained both Abia State Finance officers for interrogation.
Barrister Guy Okite also drew our attention to the fact that he is currently been threatened by unknown agents and has also being ask to resign his appointment with the government.
We will soon release the audio interaction with Barrister Guy Okite.
But around 10pm yesterday 17th October 2018, we confronted Hon. Obinna Oriaku with the petition of Barrister Guy Okite and confirmed that he was indeed detained for interrogation when he visited the EFCC office regarding some salary padding issues.
He stated that being invited by EFCC is not an aberration, it is a normal thing. When you go there you clarify issues.
Hon. Obinna went further to state that when they got to the EFCC office in Rivers State, they discovered that the petitioner had access to government document from the State Audit which laid credence to what he was alleging.
He went on to say that; “EFCC interviewed us, went through our accounts, they did a very thorough job.
The Honorable Commissioner confirmed that there were some infractions which he called little infractions, but refused to state further being that the matter is still under investigation by EFCC.
But based on our independent investigation, the Infractions discovered includes the following;
That Mrs. Charity Son, Chinenye Ukonu earned doubled salary for a period of time, we also discovered that some members of the salary verification committee also took advantage of allowance approvals to approve excess for themselves.
Another issue we discovered independently was that large sums of money were also found in the account of Mrs. Charity which she claimed was owned by Abia State Women Civil Servant Association.
Hon. Obinna Oriaku denied transferring huge sums of money into Mrs. Charity’s account, but stated that the monies which he transferred were all approved by the Governor Okezie Ikpeazu as allowance for their hard work in managing the process of paying civil servants in Abia State.
He made it clear that he has documents to prove all that.
The Honorable Commissioner finally stated that they will reengineer the salary payment system to be more fraud proof.
The Salary verification unit is made up of 5 members which was described as cabal by Barrister Guy Okite, 3 persons in the committee has reported to EFCC office and the remaining 2 are yet to report.
As at the moment of reporting, we are still investigating and digging deep to get more facts and reveal the happening in and around the finances of Abia State.
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