How Chime Allegedly Looted Enugu of N12 Billion

How Chime Allegedly Looted  Enugu of N12 Billion

 

Mr. Sullivan Chime is a lawyer of many years standing and by May 29th 2015 he would be winding up an eventful two terms of eight years as the governor of Enugu state regarded by most Igbo speaking people as their regional and political capital. But these are not the body of our story today because this lawyer and the governor of Enugu State has just been dragged to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) by another vastly experienced and fearless lawyer Mr. Raymond Nnaji and going by the details of the alleged massive looting of the resources of Enugu state, the outgoing Enugu State governor may be arrested on the expiration of his constitutional immunity from prosecution under section 308 (1) of the Nigerian Constitution the moment he quits the office of governor of Enugu State. In the petition titled: “official corruption, misappropriation, embezzlement, stealing, forgery and criminal conversion against Governor Sullivan Chime and Chief Ikeje Asogwa – A clarion call for serious investigation,” petitioner has tasked the anti-graft institution not to waste time in arresting and prosecuting Mr. Sullivan Chime for these crimes which have left the Enugu State public treasury bleeding to death. The TNIP made calls to the Chief press secretary to governor Chime Mr. Chukwudi Achife to hear their side of the story but he declined any comment. Specifically, Mr. Ray Nnaji, an erstwhile commissioner in Enugu State and a past National Auditor of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had alleged the following: “As a patriotic Nigeria and an indigene of Enugu State, the prevailing situation in Enugu State coupled with the overriding public interest and my profound interest in the welfare of the indigenes of the state, I decided not to fold my arms and watch our state milk dry by people who should protect and enhance the wellbeing of the individual members of the state.” “Sir, the information garnered from the members of the House of Assembly Enugu State and other sources made me to seek for your quick intervention in this open day robbery of the resources of the state by the Governor, his close associates and relations thus:

 

1. MISAPPROPRIATION OF PUBLIC FUNDS WORTH OVER N12,828,550,088 AND FORGERY OF PUBLIC DOCUMENT THE (SUPPLEMENTARY APPROPRIATION LAW, 2012) TO COVER UP SAME Without budgetary provisions and appropriation law backing the said expenditure, Governor Sullivan Chime proceeded to spend public funds belonging to Enugu State to the tune of about Twelve Billion, Eight Hundred and Twenty Eight Million Five Hundred and Fifty Five Thou sand, Eight Eight Naira) in 2012 (N12,828,550.088) and misappropriated and diverted the sum into his private use without the required approval by the Enugu State House of Assembly. And in order to cover up this criminal and unconstitutional acts, Governor Sullivan Chime and his cohort-Chief Ikeje Asogwa and others subsequently proceeded to forge a document titled: “The Enugu State of Nigeria Supplementary Appropriate Law, 2012”. It is an incontrovertible fact that there is no record of debate of this law nor is there any record of passage of the bill preceding the law before it was passed into law for use by the Governor.

 

2. INFLATION OF SOME P ROEJCTS COST AND STEALING OF PUBLIC FUNDS THROUG THE ENUGU STATE PROJECT DEVELOPMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION UNIT OF THE GOVERNMETN OTHERWISE CALLED AND KNOWN AS PD1 Governor Sullivan Chime created an amorphous body or organ under his direct use and supervision in the Enugu State Government House called project Development and Implementation Unit popularly known as the PD1 which was amply made use of by his former chief of staff Chief Mrs. Ifeoma Nwobodo for the Governor’s interest and needs. This organ became a conduit pipe through which the state funds are siphoned by Governor Sullivan Chime and his former Chief of Staff Chief Ifeoma Nwobodo (Mrs.) The activities of this PD1 were shrouded in absolute secrecy and was used to execute over inflated projects whose values run into billions of naira without proper valuation whereas in the budget the total value of work to be executed by the PD1 was not up to Five Hundred Million Naira (500,000,000.00) in every given year. In most cases, the jobs are paid for without proper and due execution or performance of the projects. A few examples of these bogus projects will suffice namely; the Judiciary Auditorium in the Enugu High Court, Renovation of Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu and the new court Hall at the Enugu State High Court etc.

 

3. FRAUDULENT SALE, ALLOCATION AND ACQUISITION OF PUBLIC PROPERTY BY GOVERNOR SULLIVAN CHIME AND CURRUPT ENRICHMENT BY HIM Governor Sullivan Chime fraudulently sold, allocated and/or acquired several public properties belonging to Enugu State thereby abused his office as Governor. Almost all these illegally allocated or acquire properties were sold to and acquired through friends, family members and cronies including the Governor’s children, nieces, nephews, other relations with phony companies to act as proxy etc. example of such is the Estate called Edozie close opposite the residence of court of Appeal Judge in Enugu State where his male children are living and the mansion currently occupied by his senior sister in Zoo Estate of Enugu State. It is a proven fact that Governor’s children in whose names some of these public properties were acquired never earned any income before Governor Chime became governor and were never engaged in any income earning means of livelihood. It is noteworthy that there were no invitations for public bidding nor any public bidding before the purported arbitrary sales or allocation were made. Again, some examples will suffice;

 

i. Governor Sullivan Chime allocated the former Polo Park in Enugu which is a public property to a South African Company owned by Shoprite and Games, a company the Governor has an interest through a proxy. Under the arrangement for the sale, the land was partitioned into more than One Hundred plots valued at over Forty Million Naira (N40,000,000.00) each, running into billions of naira. This above sum was converted into shares in the South African Company for Sullivan Chime using a proxy company. Consequently, Governor Chime owns substantial shares or equities in the said South African Company to which former Polo Park in Enugu was allocated to. On the surface, it will appear it was a mere allocation without monetary consideration but underneath, it was a dubious calculated sale of public property with private intention by the Governor.

ii. The Old Trade Fare Complex in Enugu State was also partitioned and arbitrarily allocated to family members and cronies of the Governor. For example, his daughter Ada Chukwu (Mrs.) (Nee Chime) is erecting a State of the Art Shopping mall on the portion of the land allocated ot her by her father. As a result, Governor Sullivan Chime, had abused his position as Governor.

 

iii. Governor Sullivan Chime in abuse of his office also invaded the Enugu State House of Assembly Complex and revoked a portion of the Assembly’s land which was previously allocated to the State Security Service (SSS) and work had started in earnest with sole intention to erect a shopping mall on the land for private use with Governor’s interest fully taken care of in breach of the security of the three arms zone of the state.

 

iv. In breach of his oath of office and in abuse of his office, Governor Sullivan Chime allocated the old Eastern Region Industrial Layout at Zik Avenue in Enugu, property of Enugu State, to a company fronted by the Governor’s second son-Mr. Tochukwu Chime, without public bidding. Work had already started in earnest until the Enugu State House of Assembly intervened through a resolution prompting a temporal suspension of work.

 

v. Governor Sullivan Chime also in abuse of his office arbitrarily allocated to himself and family members, a substantial portion of the Enugu State conference centre car park and all adjoining lands. This said carve out and acquisition was done without invitation to the public to apply, and the illegally acquired plots of land has been largely built up b the Governor’s relations including Nnamdi Chime, Tochukwu Chime, and his younger brother – Dr. Jide Chime while his senior sister Mrs. May Oji is not left out of the illegal deal.

 

vi. All the properties which was hitherto said to belong to the former governor of Enugu State, Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani including the property near Ebeano tunnel Enugu which was currently renamed Fidelity Estate has been awarded to cronies by Governor Sullivan Chime, at arbitrary prices and without public bidding purely for his private interest. The proceeds of these illegality is unaccounted for. vii. The Enugu Sports Council Land, opposite the Institute of Management and Technology, Enugu has been defaced and partitioned by Governor Sullivan Chime and was awarded to cronies and relations by the governor as part of Liberty Estate Phase 1 in Enugu. These allocations are being done in secrecy and in clear violation of the law thereby abuse his office as Governor.

 

4. STEALING OF PUBLIC FUNDS BY DIVERSION OF PROCEEDS OF SALES OF HOUSING UNITS AT THE COAL CITY GARDEN ESTATE THROUGH CHIEF IKEJE ASOGWA. In 2008, Governor Sullivan Chime commenced the building of housing units in the Coal City Garden Estate through the Enugu State Housing Development Corporation under Chief Ikeje Asogwa, who was the Corporation’s Managing Director. A total sum of about Two Billion and Two Hundred Million Naira (N2.2 billion) was borrowed and expended for this project by the Housing Corporation by the Enugu State Government under the leadership of Governor Sullivan Chime. It is on record that the entire Housing Units and empty and undeveloped plots in the Coal City Garden Estate have been sold out without public bidding. The entire proceeds from these sales were stolen and same diverted by Governor Sullivan Chime and Chief Ikeje Asogwa to themselves and have not been accounted for. Chief Ikeje Asogwa has used this housing project and other avenues to enrich himself to the extent that the property he has in Enugu currently is astronomically in number and cost. The shopping mall at Ikenga Area of the State known as coal city Garden Estate was said to have been built by Ikeje Asogwa with public fund and the proceeds therefrom goes into his private use. The various buildings at the Liberty Estate Independence Layout Enugu owned by Chief Asogwa through proxies as the then Managing Director of Enugu State Housing Development Corporation is too alarming to be ignored.

 

 

5. INFLATION OF THE BUILDING CONTRACT OF THE NEW ENUGU SECRETARIAT COMPLEX AT GRA ENUGU This gigantic project was commenced in 2012. Under the 2012 budget passed into law by the Enugu State House of Assembly only Fifty Million Naira (N50,000,000.00) was provided for in the appropriation law of that year and it was for feasibility study for the project. It is highly disappointing that Governor Sullivan Chime later expended a whopping further sum of about Four Billion Naira (N40,000,000.00) without any budgetary provision in the appropriation law, 2012, by the Enugu State House of Assembly. Equally sad is the fact that the Governor has forged the Appropriation law to cover up his unconstitutional acts with regard to that project. Also shocking is the fact that Akiota Works Limited was one of the companies that bided for the project and had offered about Eight Billion and Six Hundred Million Naira (N8,600,000,000.00) of which it had passed both technical and financial tests. Curiously, Governor Chime later awarded the same project to Arab Contractors at an inflated contract price of Thirteen Billion Naira (N13,000,000,000.00) without any appropriation law to cover the cost of the project purely based on his personal interest. This forgery the Governor in his several comments to the public (both print and Electronic media) never denied of same but called it vietment which he has no right to do. This contract price has subsequently and variously undergone (dubious) upward variations and inflated to the sum of about Twenty One Billion Naira (N21,000,000,000.00) and the project is yet to be completed. Infact, not less than one Billion Naira was used by the Governor to destroy the old structure to give way for the new project when he could have started the new project in a new place and allow the old one to be in place as a legacy for the generation yet unborn. What informed his decision to destroy the old secretariat is his inordinate desire to enrich himself with public funds in the name of construction of new secretariat complex.

 

6. CRIMINAL CONVERSION AND DUBIOUS SALES OF PUBLIC PROPERTIES. Governor Sullivan Chime also secretly and fraudulently sold to himself public properties belonging to Enugu State without public bidding thereby abuse his office as a Governor. This, Barrister Sullivan Chime did by using private companies which are bubbles as fronts to put up and convert these properties to himself. These properties, include, Hotel Presidential Enugu; Enugu State Water Corporation. Even, the Governor’s private residence at M9 Independence Layout, Enugu which is under serious renovation with the public funds. Information also had it that the Governor had bought off Golden Royal Hotel Independence Layout Enugu from the owner. Also, the property very close to Nkpokiti junction Enugu which was used for the last Gubernatorial Campaign for PDP in Enugu State was bought by the Governor using a proxy. It is an open secret that Governor Sullivan Chime could not boast of a cash of Five Million Naira in all his accounts with the banks before 2007 after serving as special Adviser on Legal Matters to former Governor Chimaroke Nnamani and Attorney General of Enugu State. This irrefutable facts could be easily ascertained from his Assets declaration forms submitted to the Code of Conduct Bureau before and after he has become Governor of Enugu State.

 

 

Presently, he is a billionaire both in cash and Assets. What a day light robbery of public funds by the Governor. Therefore, my fervent appeal to you is that you thoroughly investigate these serious rape of Enugu State by Governor Sullivan Chime with a view to visiting the culprits which includes Chief Ikeje Asogwa and their cohorts with the full weight of the law. I am willing and available to furnish further and better particulars and information that may be required by your commission in due course. If it is possible, the zonal office of the commission could be mandated to do the investigation for the sake of the proximity of witnesses. It is my strong belief and hope that if the necessary actions are taken concerning this petition, it will help to checkmate flagrant corruption and disdain with which accountability over public funds is treated by public officers especially in Enugu State. Moreover, it will curb impunity and act as a deterrent to other public office holders with propensity for stealing public fund with impunity. We also believe that your taking up this onerous challenge to thoroughly investigate this matter will help dispel the erroneous impression that your commission can only bark but will not bite when it is glaring that it should bite.

 

Sir, it may interest you to know that if after two weeks of the receipt of this petition no action is taken to investigate this matter, I will have no other option than to proceed to court to compel compliance. Observers say this matter is a litmus test for the incoming administration of Muhammadu Buhari who has anti corruption as his key objective.

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