• Saturday, May 18, 2024
businessday logo


Abians urge Otti to recover ₦107.2bn paid for non-existent airport

Otti sets up security council, security trust fund in Abia

The people of Abia State have urged Governor Alex Otti to do all within his power to recover all stolen funds allegedly perpetrated by the previous administration in the state.

These are the forensic auditors appointed by the present administration in the state to unravel how the immediate past administration in the state paid ₦107.2 billion to 72 contractors for non-existent Abia Airport and other projects not executed.

Dora Okwudili, an indigene of Abia, urged Abians not to take Otti seriously again if he does not recover the ₦107.2 billion allegedly paid out by the immediate past administration led by Okezie Ikpeazu and those before him, and hand over the 72 contractors to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for prosecution.

Nnamdi Nwanaga, an Aba resident, however, observed that Otti is a serious and well-calculated leader and knows that he cannot spend such a huge amount on a forensic audit if he is not sure of recovering the money.

According to him, the forensic audit becomes necessary based on the processes of previous prosecution attempts that failed.

“He does not want to create any lacuna for failure once he begins the recovery process,”  Nwanaga observed.

Governor Otti, while discussing a topic entitled “State Governance and Economic Transitions: Meeting the Challenges” at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Affairs (SAIS), Washington, DC, said that his administration set up a forensic audit as soon as they got into office in May 2023.

To avoid arguments, Governor Otti said that they appointed one of the top three audit firms in the world to look at the state’s financial books and noted that their report was frightening.

Governor Otti, quoting the auditor’s report, alleged that ₦79.3 billion was paid to seven contractors for contracts that were not executed. He also alleged that another ₦15.9 billion was paid to 63 contractors with no supporting documents anywhere in the state.

The governor also alleged that another ₦12 billion was paid to 2 contractors for contracts that do not exist, noting that out of this figure that ₦10 billion was paid on September 25, 2020, to some contractors for the construction of the non-existent Abia State Airport.