Councillors in Nsukka Local Government Area of Enugu State have dragged its Chairmanm Mr. Charles Ugwu, before the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), and Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, over alleged misappropriation of funds.
In a petition signed by ten of the twenty councillors, and made available to the Daily Times, they alleged that the chairman had embezzled five months arrears of workers’ salary.
The councillors who signed the petition were Honourables Juliana Ugwu, representing Ibeagwa-Ani/Agu Ward, Paschal Ogbonna representing Ihe Ward, Chijioke Aguonah representing Akpa/Ozi Ward, Nna Aleke representing Obukpa Ward, Hon. Betram Ezema Idi/Igbo-ozalla Ward, Raymond Agbo, representing Ibeku Ward, Festus Ugwu representing Eha-Ndiagu Ward, Marcel Ugwuoke Okpuje/Okutu Ward, Paul Omeje representing Alor-Uno Ward and Ogechukwu Onyishi representing Ede-Ukwu Ward.
“Figures of monthly allocation as contained in the petition are eloquent testimony that what Nsukka council has been receiving is enough for the council boss to pay workers, councillors and execute development projects.
“We want you to use your good office to save councillors and workers of Nsukka LGA from further hardship,” they said.
The petitioners also accused the leader of the Legislative Council, Mr. Celestine Ogbu, of complicity with the chairman in siphoning the council funds.
“The leader will not say the truth on this issue, because the LG chairman has been settling him with some amount of money; he has refused to call for sitting, for some time now, because he knows some of us are not happy with him.”
The aggrieved councillors also alleged that the council boss borrowed N100 million from UBA without their approval.
“The Chairman borrowed N100 million last year without our consent; there is no projects on ground to show that this was what he did with the N100 million.
“It’s unfortunate that Ogbu is conniving with Ugwu in carrying out these illegalities and misappropriation of Nsukka LG funds,” the councillors said.
Reacting to the petition, Ogbu described the allegations by his colleagues against the Chairman as untrue and unfounded, noting that all the councillors approved the borrowing of N100 million from the UBA last year.
“I suspect that some politicians are using these councillors to tarnish Ugwu’s image, as well as cause disaffection among us. We are aware of the N100 million borrowed from UBA, as we all approved it for the chairman. He has been carrying the councillors along; at our monthly meetings, he briefs us about his programmes and he attends to our problems,” Ogbu said.
He urged the aggrieved councillors to retrace their steps, since they would gain nothing by creating confusion in the council.
“Everybody knows the financial problems facing the states and local governments in the country, due to the fall of oil price in international market.
“It will be unfair for someone to say that Ugwu has enough money to pay workers and councillors but deliberately refused to pay them,” he said.
Ugwu described the allegations of the councillors as false and deliberate attempt to blackmail and soil his image before the governor and the people of Nsukka.
“I have been carrying the councillors along in everything I do since I assumed office in January 2014. I suspect that some politicians are using these councillors to blackmail me, as well as cause confusion in Nsukka LGA.
“I do have monthly meetings with councillors where I brief them about my activities and polices and they in turn tell me about their problems.
“No bank will lend you money without letter of approval from Finance and Governance (F & G), Legislative Council, as well as the State Ministry of Local Government Affairs,” he said.
Ugwu said the N100 million borrowed from UBA last year was used for building of primary schools, hospitals, landscaping and renovation of the council’s secretariat, as well as buying of official vehicles for the vice-chairman and secretary of the council.
“The records are there of how the N100 million, borrowed from UBA, was used. They were the councillors who approved it. No amount of petitions will stop me from rendering selfless service to the good people of Nsukka LGA,” he said. (Daily times)