Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State yesterday refuted a newspaper online report that he had fled Nigeria because of investigations by the Economic and Financial Commission (EFCC) into how he spent N2billion bail out funds for the state.
Addressing journalists at the Government House, Owerri as early as 8am, Okorocha described the report as blackmail because he didn’t “jet out” to anywhere.
He said the journalist who wrote the story hails from the same place as the governorship candidate of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the last election and has always written negative things about him and the government of the state.
“If I am with you journalists here this morning, when someone wrote and published yesterday that I had jetted out because of EFCC, you can imagine the level of falsehood or mischief.
“I won’t take any legal action against the Thisday Newspaper, but I only need a retraction because the story was not true. The newspaper was deceived by the reporter.
“For a long time, I have not travelled out of the country. So the report was mischievous. The PDP has persisted on impugning on the image of the government. I call on them to leave such acts as this is the time to face governance and development.”
On the EFCC issue, the governor remarked that, “the EFCC querying the alleged diversion of N2billion is not out of place as the Commission has visited the state more than fifty times over the past four years and the state has always come out clean. For every report or petition or allegation made to EFCC, it is binding on them to investigate it whether founded or unfounded. That does not mean that the allegation is true.”
He continued, “Every worker in the state was paid beyond the bailout fund and period. The state used the bailout fund judiciously. The records are clear and accessible. There is nothing like diversion as alleged. You know the PDP elements are good in writing petitions. They have no other business at the moment than to write petitions.
“They wrote petitions, and made allegations. The EFCC acted on the petitions and were disappointed after their investigations. The Principal Secretary, Dr. Pascal Obi reported to be detained by the EFCC is the one by my side. These people tell a lot of lies.
“I want the EFCC to come as many times as possible so that when you leave government, it will be better for you. The government has performed much more than what the resources available can do. People should come and ask me what is the secret and how I have been able to achieve all these, instead of writing petitions. It is all about vision and ideas”.