The Imo state government says it welcomes in good fate the call on anti-graft agencies by an advocacy group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) for the probe of the activities of Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo state as it concerns the statues erected in honour of Presidents Jacob Zuma of South Africa and Mrs. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia.
This is also as the Imo state government faulted SERAP for contradicted itself by passing judgements on the governor.
A statement signed by Sam Onwuemeodo, the spokesman to the governor said, “SERAP should have stopped at the call for probe to show they meant well. But they went ahead to pass judgements thereby jeopardizing what should have been a sincere call for probe. It is our considered opinion that SERAP should have waited for the outcome of the probe they called for before making their stand known to the public based on the results of the expected probes.
“SERAP also said that the statues might have cost N1billion. Then, how would SERAP address the issue of cost if at the end of the probes the amount is either far higher or far below what they quoted? Or if it is discovered that the statues were not funded from government’s purse, when SERAP had already talked about ‘apparent misuse of public resources’?
Continuing, Onwuemeodo said, “Right from the outset, we had given indications on the purpose of the coming of these great leaders and who invited them. And if SERAP had meant to do a good job, they would have resolved the issue of invitations and their contents, to ascertain whether they came on the invitation of the government or the Rochas Foundation College of Africa. The language of SERAP obviously would not have been the same if they had taken that step.
“SERAP would have also helped the public by quoting any known law or ordinance barring the governor from receiving or hosting the visiting leaders not minding who invited them or which body invited them.
The statement noted that Imo state does not owe workers including teachers. On the issue of pension, Onwuemeodo stated that government cleared all the arrears in December 2016 and has begun to pay monthly.
“We want to appeal to SERAP that next time when they call for probe on issues, they should wait for the outcome of the exercise before drawing conclusions on the same issues to show they have not already made up their minds on the issues in question. That is the only way their claims can earn currency in terms of credibility.