An Imo group, made up of different associations operating under the aegis of Imo Charter Forum (ICF), has called on incoming governor of the state, Emeka Ihedioha, to do everything legally possible to ensure outgoing Governor Rochas Okorocha is not the one to receive the balance of Paris Club refund due to the state.
Associations that are members of ICF are Imo Prosperity Network (IPN), Imo Sons and Daughters (ISD), Imo Peoples’ Congress for Development (IPCD), Imo Watchdogs for Transparency and Good Governance (IWTGG) and Women of Imo for Community Development (WICD).
ICF demands came following the last Thursday statement by the supervising finance minister, Zainab Ahmed that states yet to collect their balance of the Paris Club debts refunds would soon be paid.
In a statement on Monday signed by its national secretary, Zebulon Melariri, the group said that the fund should not be released to Okorocha, who it said, “has no respect for accountability and due process with finances and has always seen the money belonging to Imo State as his personal resource.”
The statement read, “We welcome the news by the Federal Government that the last tranche of Paris Club refund has been released. For us, this would serve as takeoff grant for some of the in-coming governors, most of who would be inheriting empty treasuries from the out-going governors.
“The case of Imo State is peculiar because Governor Rochas Okorocha has no respect for accountability and due process with finances and has always seen the money belonging to Imo State as his personal resource.
“The Federal Government may need to be reminded that Rochas is owing workers over six months of unpaid salaries, the same with pensioners and contractors. This is in spite of the fact the state rakes in much revenue from internal revenue streams, in addition to the huge releases in the past from the same Paris Club refunds.
“We therefore urge the in-coming governor, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha to do whatever is legally possible to safeguard Imo State’s share of the latest refunds by making sure that the money is not released to Rochas before he leaves office in a few days from now.
“He must ensure that the money does not go into the hands of out-going Governor Rochas Okorocha as they say that prevention is better than cure.”
The tenure of Okorocha, an All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain ends on May 29, when he hands over power to Ihedioha, of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).