The Speaker of the Ebonyi State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon Francis Nwifuru, has said that he was never arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu last Friday, but voluntarily went to the office of the agency to honour invitation.
The speaker, who disclosed this in Abakaliki while addressing newsmen, said he only honoured an invitation from the EFCC at its South-East zonal office in Enugu.
“I arrived Enugu from Abuja after attending an agricultural programme in China and decided to honour the initiation which was brought to my office when I traveled.
Rt. Hon Nwifuru noted that he honoured the invitation to save himself the stress of traveling to Abakaliki and back to Enugu and even visited the Speaker of Enugu State House Assembly who accompanied him to the EFCC office”.
“I have never been to the EFCC office before as they asked me to explain what transpired with 2011, 2012, 13 and 14 constituency projects funds as the representative of Izzi West state constituency”.
He noted that he explained all he knew in not more than 30 minutes as this shows that he was neither arrested nor molested by the EFCC.
“I informed them that I was not the House speaker within those periods but knew that some funds were released for the projects by the former state governor, as the then speaker awarded contracts for the constituency projects through bidding processes.
The speaker remarked that the projects for his constituency was duly constituted and executed, as the only uncompleted one was a structure meant for the police which however, attained 80 % completion.
“The system of constituency project execution in Ebonyi is such that a succeeding tenure would not complete uncompleted projects, as the projects stops with the period of award.
He said that the EFCC officials were shocked with what he revealed, as he promised to sponsor their trip to Ebonyi state to assess the projects which will help them find the truth.
“I believe the petition was politically motivated because it only involved nine members of the previous assembly who were re-elected and who did not support the immediate past administration when its tenure was ending.
He noted that he told the EFCC that the House Department for Planning, Research and Statistics (PRS) should be held accountable because it raised the Certificates of Completion to the contractors.
“On finishing my explanations, I was told to leave and if I was actually arrested, I could had been bailed which was not the case,” he said.
He noted that in his estimation, the petition was from aggrieved staff of the House who felt they were unduly transferred or not carried along in the execution of projects.