The alleged disappearance Iof Iart of the bailout fund given to Imo State by the Muhammadu Buhari administration in 2015 to cushion the effects of the economic down turn and also assist in paying accumulated salaries and pensions of Imo State Civil Servants and retirees has once again, re-echoed, as Comrade Ambrose Nwogwugwu, former Director, New Media of the Peoples Democratic Party has called on the Hope Uzodinma government to compel Uche Nwosu, former Governor Rochas Okorocha’s son-in-law and Chief of Staff, in whose custody the money was kept and from where it allegedly developed wings to account for it along side the source of his present inexplicable wealth and philanthropist status.
Nwaogwugwu who recently defected to the All Progressive Congress APC, stated this in a release he signed and made available to the press.
According to him, “in 2015, during the excruciating economic down turn and recession, the federal government in her wisdom, introduced what was termed bailout funds. The funds running to tens of billions were given to some states in the country to help cushion the effects of the recession and assist some of the states pay their work force. Imo State benefitted about
N30b from the largesse. The state governor entrusted the state’s share in the custody of his son-in-law, Uche Nwosu who was also made chairman of the disbursement committee set up by the government”.
“Shortly after, one thing led to the other and stories started filtering out about how Uche Nwosu’s cook and confidant named Henry allegedly disappeared with the money stashed in hard currency. And that was the last we heard about Imo State’s share of the bailout fund”.
Nwaogwugwu further recalled that “when Watchdog Newspaper blew the lid off the alleged missing bailout fund, the Publisher of the newspaper alongside some other staff of the outfit were arrested, detained and arraigned in court on trumped up charges. They were however, later ldischarged and acquitted by the court”.
Continuing, the former Director of PDP New Media said, “what is interesting in the whole drama is that the prime suspects in the alleged theft were either transferred out of circulation or found dead in mysterious circumstances. For instance, CSP John Ezeji, the Investigating Police Officer who was handling the matter was reported to have died mysteriously ahead of the next date that he was expected to appear in court as a witness”.
The release wondered why Imo people have not been given any satisfactory explanation about the whereabout of the
N26.8 billion for which some pensioners in the state are presently owed over 50 months arrears of their entitlements, “while the alleged culprit and dramatis personae in the episode, Uche Nwosu who has become an emergency philanthropist who presently lives in inexplicable opulence has uptill date not given account of the money, as chairman of the disbursement committee of the bailout fund for which thousands of Imo people who served the state meritoriously for 35 years have been impoverished”.
It will be recalled that management and staff of Watchdog Newspaper were subjected to all kinds of harassment, intimidation, psychological, emotional, mental and physical torture by the Rochas Okorocha administration for publishing and bringing the issue of the alleged missing bailout fund to the front burner of public discourse.
The media outfit was also bombarded with series of litigations by the former Chief of Staff to Uche Nwosu who was determined to ground it’s operations using the paraphernalia of his exalted office and contact with the powers that be.