Saturday, 7 December 2013

Rejoinder: Gov. Okorocha’s Rejection Of EFFC’s Discharge Of Jude Agbaso

Gov. Okorocha (left) and Agbaso when going was good

Our attention has been drawn to recent sponsored media statements:

1. Made by the Imo State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha describing the recent Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) discharging his ex-deputy, Sir Jude Agbaso of collecting =N=453 Million bribe from a state government contractor  as ‘mischievous and self serving’.

2. That the EFCC has no right to absolve his former deputy of the above alleged crime.

3. Reported in Imo State-owned radio the Orient F.M.  wherein Governor Okorocha’s media aide Sam Onwuemeodo, was quoted to  have castigated the media interview recently granted by Chief Martin Agbaso confirming the said acquittal saying it was misleading.

We have decided to issue this press release to put the unsuspecting members of the public on alert on the continuous devilish, malicious, mischievous and seductive antics of Governor Okorocha in what is today widely known as the Jpros Gate that led to the unlawful impeachment of Sir Agbaso in March this year as the Imo State Deputy Governor.

It is very unfortunate that a Governor who is now widely known as a habitual lair has descended so low as to describe the recent clean-slate given his ever loyal and former deputy by the EFCC, as ‘mischievous’ and ‘self serving’.

Also, it is a worst sin for the Governor’s media aide to use a state media outfit to deceive the masses and parry the mother of all scandals in the Okorocha Administration off his pay-master.

If we talk of ‘mischief’, ‘self serving’ and ‘deception’ in the Jpros saga, it is on the part of Governor Okorocha and all the people he used to set Sir Agbaso up and got him unlawfully impeached.

However, in as much as we cannot speak for EFCC, yet it is too naïve of a Governor who claims to have a yet-to-be-ascertained Masters Degree at Law to say that an administrative body like EFCC that has power of investigating  crime, criminal indictment and prosecution of crime offenders does not have power to absolve an accused of criminal allegation.

Also, Governor Okorocha’s claim that he is to set up his own state anti-graft agency, mention of former Governor Ikedi Ohakim and claim that the Imo State Government is waiting for the Jbross boss to be brought back to the state to answer charges of fraud allegedly filed at the Imo State High Court is a ruse and his usual antics calculated to deceive the public and parry his indictment in the Jpros scam.
The whole world is aware that Okorocha’s days in Douglas House are numbered because of his poor leadership and declining popularity. Therefore we urge the people of Imo State and the general public to disregard his intrigues in the whole scam as the truth in the entire saga is gradually unfolding and will fully unfold soonest.

On the next line of action, Sir Agbaso has 3 cases in courts. One is at the Court of Appeal and two at the Imo State High Court challenging his impeachment and he is very optimistic that the judgments in the suits will favour him and get him re-instated.

To once again refresh our memories, below are details of what transpired.

1. Shortly after Governor Rochas Okorocha’s administration was inaugurated, the State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha had an informal understanding with one JPROS International Nigeria Limited whom the Governor personally brought to Imo State to construct the Warehouse Orlu Road Junction-Aba Road which traverses Odunze and Amigbo streets and Old Nekede Road in Owerri Municipality.

2. Work commenced accordingly and the Governor paid the company the sum of =N=200 Million naira and also promised to pay the company complete contract sum for the road construction when fund would be provided.

3. In February 2012, the state Ministry of Works under the headship of the impeached Deputy Governor of the state Sir Jude Agbaso re-negotiated downwards the contract sum from the initial One Billion, Three Hundred and Twelve Million and Six thousand Eight Hundred and Seventy Four Naira (=N=1,312,106,874.00) to One Billion, One Hundred  and Fifty Million Naira (=N1,150,0000,000.00).

4. As the then state Commissioner for Works, Sir Agbaso directed and the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Works wrote to the Governor seeking the Governor’s approval for the formal contract of the construction of said road by JPROS.

5. The Governor approved the said contract and without recourse to Ministry of Works, the state Ministry of Finance and the Office of the Accountant-General paid 100% of the contract sum directly to JPROS. It was also discovered that the contractor was even over-paid the contractor sum for work which is yet to go mid-way.

6. Subsequently, it was noticed that pace of work on the road slowed down and when confronted by the Special Committee of the state House, JPROS alleged that the slow pace of work was because of lack of fund. When queried further, Mr. Dina alleged that he gave Sir Agbaso the sum of 458 Million Naira from the contract sum alleging that it was a consideration for Sir Agbaso’s alleged promise to give his company more contracts in future. Mr. Dina alleged that Sir Agbaso sent him a text message directing him to pay the above amount into some bank accounts.

7. Mr. Dina also claimed that accordingly, on the receipt of the contract money in February 2012, that he consequently paid the sum of Three Hundred and Twenty Five Million Naira (=N=325,000,000.00) into a Guarantee Trust Bank account of Three Brothers Concept Ltd. from JPROS Diamond Bank Account No. 0015810435. He tendered Cheque No. 30794835 which he claimed he did the payment with. He also claimed to have paid another One Hundred and Thirty Three Million (=N=133,000,000.00) in June 2012 to IHSAN BDC Ltd. bank account No. 105334698 with UBA Plc. drawn from another JPROS’s Diamond Bank Plc account no. 0015810435.

8. When it appeared that the Imo House of Assembly and the 7-Man Investigation Panel were not ready to investigate the matter, the Agbasos took it upon themselves to do so. With the help of professionals, forensic/foreign investigators and security agencies, it was discovered that the alleged bribe money was paid to two foreign accounts of Mr. Dina of JPROS in Dubai and Lebanon. Shockingly, with the help of Corporate Affairs Commission, it was discovered that an aide of Governor Rochas Okorocha Prince MacDonald-Akano who is the Governor’s Special Adviser and Chairman of the Committee on Monitoring and Implementation of Road Projects in Imo State was made a shareholder in JPROS International Nigeria Ltd. on June 20, 2012 and allotted two (2) million shares of the company’s 10 million shares. Akano also wrote and consented to be a director of the company two days later, on June 22, 2012. The alleged 458 bribery sum was actually sent by Mr. Dina to his company accounts overseas. Mr. Dina first paid N325, 000,000 into the Three Brother’s Concept Ltd GTB account. The money was used to raise the sum of $1,930,000, which was subsequently transferred through Dubai, on February 21, 2012, to Mr. Dina’s account No. LB5001400002302300179018010 with the Kaslik Branch of BLOM Bank SAL in Lebanon. The purpose of the transfer, as stated in the transfer document, was “to import construction equipment”. Mr. Dina similarly paid the second tranche of N133,000,000 into the IHSAN BDC LTD’s account No. 1015334698 with the UBA. Again, the money was used to raise $800,000 and transferred to Mr. Dina’s Account, No. AE360200000036374395130 with HSBC Middle East Ltd at Dubai Internet City, Sheik Zayed Rd, Dubai. So, while Mr. Dina was accusing Jude Agbaso of demanding and receiving a bribe of N458 million, the said money had been converted by the same man and his associates in Lebanon. Other directors/shareholders of JPROS apart from Akano are Joseph Dina, Aline Dina and Jean Samir Aoun.

9. Before the above facts could be completely gathered, the Imo House of Assembly allegedly acting on the instruction of Governor Okorocha caused hurriedly impeached Sir Agbaso. The 7-Man Panel set by Imo Government to investigate the matter sat only once on the 28th of March, 2013. Before the panel sitting, the members of the state legislature who were already on Easter vacation were summoned the same day the panel sat and they were anxiously waiting for the panel to submit its report. Heavy security men were detailed to both the place the panel sat and the state legislative complex. The same day the panel sat was the same day it submitted its report to the legislature, it was the same day Jude Agbaso was impeached and it was the same day he recommended his personal assistant and he was confirmed by the same legislature as the new Deputy Governor. It was like that because everything was a script well written, rehearsed and dramatized.

1. Why did Governor Okorocha directly pay the contract sum to JPROS account the same period his former Special Adviser on Project Monitoring Prince Macdonald Akano became a director in the company?

3. Isn’t it fascinating to discover that a director and a major Shareholder; indeed, the second highest shareholder in the company involved in this ugly scandal was Governor Okorocha’s business associate and Special Adviser on Project Monitoring, Prince Akano, stood quietly and loyally beside Mr. Dina, as Dina deceived the whole world and made away with Imo people’s money?

4.Is it not an evil for Akano to aide and abate a Lebanese to blackmail and slander a state Deputy Governor knowing full well that his company, JPROS, was the guilty party in the matter?

5. Is it not possible that Akano is representing Governor Okorocha’s ‘interest’ in the money laundering?

6. Is it not possible that Governor Okorocha who illegally approved this payment and even overpaid the contract sum straight to JPROS, connived with Akano to have the N458 Million Naira laundered abroad?

7. Is it not an evil that since these revelations were made, Prince Akano has not denied them?

8. Since these revelations came to lime light, what has the Imo House of Assembly done to Governor Okorocha?

9. At the inception of his administration, Governor Okorocha told the whole world that he had ceded the state legislative quarters to Concorde Hotel Owerri and named it Concorde Extension. Later, he renamed the place Luxury Apartment and leased it to the same Prince Akano for many years. Why is it that Akano and Rochas are always in the middle of scams in relation to property and money that belong to Imo people?

10. During the impeachment of Sir Agbaso, how come the Imo House of Assembly, the Governor, the Panel etc did not insist on establishing the ownership of the accounts supplied by JPROS, the companies involved their directors and shareholders? What were they trying to cover?


Barr. Emperor N. Iwuala
Special Assistant to Jude Agbaso.

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