The battle between the outgoing governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha and the governor-elect, Emeka Ihedioha over the control of the state’s funds has begun to breed tension in Imo State.
The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the state led by Charles Ezekwem had raised an allegation that Okorocha had engaged in continued withdrawal of state funds to the tune of over N17 billion from about four different banks.
The state government has insisted that Ihedioha does not have the powers to stop banks where Imo State funds are domiciled from dealing with Okorocha.
It should be recalled that in 2011, when Okorocha was declared governor-elect, he (Okorocha) issued a statement warning banks from having any dealings with his then predecessor Ikedi Ohakim.
Trouble started when the governor-elect, Ihedioha at his maiden press briefing in Owerri, warned that banks dealing with Okorocha would be doing so at their own risk. He also asked members of the public to be wary of doing any government-related business with Okorocha.
The PDP under Ezekwem also alleged that Okorocha was tampering with major government properties in order to create difficulties for the incoming government.
Some of the withdrawals according to Ezekwem occurred between Tuesday, March 12 and Thursday, March 14, 2019.
He said: “Governor Okorocha had made major withdrawals from Access Bank, Zenith Bank, Unity Bank and Skye Bank amounting to over N17 billion.
“We are aware of the rampant issuance of Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) to family members and friends of Okorocha’s family. The party warns those involved that they are doing so at their own peril.”
Responding, Okorocha through his Chief Press Secretary, Onwuemeodo, said: “Chief Emeka Ihedioha who was declared winner of the governorship election in the State by Prof. Francis Ezeonu-led INEC in Owerri does not have the right or locus yet, to harass or give directives to the financial institutions in the state over their dealings with the state government