- Category: POLITICS
- Published on Saturday, 15 September 2012 20:19
- Written by Ogbuefi Blogs
This is the picture of of the current state of the world class Royal Oak refinery built with 40 Billion naira Bond, and commissioned by former Imo State Governor, Ikedi Ohakim before he left office. In October 18, 2009, the Imo State Government
announced to the entire world that the Royal Oak Refinery will start production in three years’ time.
The Special Adviser to Imo State Governor on Project Monitoring, Mr. Ben Ekwueme, said this while fielding questions from journalists in Owerri.
Before the end of this year, Imo people will have the good news that the investors are here. The actual length of time before the refinery starts working will be less than three years’, Ekwueme said.
Three years after, there was refinery and the 40 billion naira has disappeared!
in 2009, Ekwueme, who doubles as the Project Director of Royal Oak Refinery, said the Project Monitoring Bureau has not relented in ensuring that government projects are completed as specified and on record time.
He described the people of Abacheke, host to the refinery project, as 'very hospitable', pointing out that most of them had willingly donated their land for the project.
When the clearing of the land is completed, the Royal Oak Group from the United States of America, would be invited to start the actual building of the infrastructure, Ekwueme said.
He reassured the citizens that government would complete all the projects it embarked upon, according to the contract specifications.
Today, three years after, there was refinery and the 40 billion naira has disappeared!
Responding to this sad development, Mr Kelechi Okpalaeke the Commissioner for Information in the discredited Ohakim’s government told me that there was never a 40 billion bond taken by the ohakim government. He rather said that the ohakim government went to the capital market and a forty billion naira bond was approved to be taken in tranches. The first tranche was eighteen and half billion. The 18.5 billion was paid back with interest before we left and 13.5 billion was handed over to the new IMO administration unencumbered.
I am still waiting for the present Imo state government under Rochas Okorocha to establish the veracity of his claim, but Okpalaeke promised to publish the hand over notes if I want.
He also said that the forty billion naira bond approved for IMO state was tied to the IMO connectivity motorway which connects 19 local governments from the IMO airport and which is over 70 per cent completed before they left office, including the wonder lake project, adding that the cost expended in the entire forty billion bond approved for IMO state is just five billion which was used in the IMO connectivity motorway.
“Not one penny has been spent of the amount approved for bond on the wonder lake before we left,” Okpalaeke told me.
However this claim is amazing because the forty billion bond he claimed to have been tied to the “IMO connectivity motorway which connects 19 local governments from the IMO airport and which is over 70 percent completed before we left'' was never seen by Imo state indigenes!
At least not in Ikeduru, a LGA in Imo state; my people never saw any signs of the 40b bonds or Imo connectivity motorway, so how could Okpalaeke claim that the Imo connectivity motorway was done 70%? This is mischievous indeed.
A more likely explanation is that the Royal Oak Refinery, just like the "Imo connectivity motorway" is a fraud perpetrated on Imo people and one of Ohakim money laundering schemes!
Other projects with which Ohakim laundered Imo funds under the disguise of looking for foreign investors to come to Imo State to establish the following: The Oguta Wonderland, the Royal Oak Refinery, Mid-Western airlines, the IRROMA Trucks and Caterpillars etc.
The questions being asked are: (1) where are these projects? (2) Are they white elephants projects? (3) The IRROMA equipments launched on the 15 th of November 2008, where are they today?
Through the aforementioned methods, the laundered State funds were used to buy personal properties for Ikedi Ohakim in London, America, South Africa, Gambia and investment in Ghana, China and Malaysia.
In 2009 when Ohakim secured this unnecessary UBA Plc styled bond placement, he told the people the bond issue which he said is a mere 40 billion Naira - an amount according to him will enable completion of Oguta Lake tourism site, some water projects and unnamed road projects - his government hopes to use to set the state rolling . He then urged Imo People to support his governments' bid to go into the bond agreement with UBA Plc since according to him the bond money will in no small measure push the case of development which Imo State needs.
Analysts queried the need for a 40 billion Naira bond from 2007 to 2009 that Ohakim was imposed on Imolites within which time the State had received over 351 billion Naira from the Federation Account. To them, a government that cannot give account of a huge money like 351 billion Naira it has collected, cannot account for a 40 billion Naira whose terms Imo people do not know and whose arrangement they were not part of.
The bond was meant to serve selfish interest, the people behind the bond agreement had in less than 72 hours of signing the bond on a Sunday in Abuja taken out 10% value of the bond a staggering 1.85 billion of which Ikedi Ohakim had already pocketed a whopping one billion while over 850 million have lined the pockets of the likes of Irechukwu, Onyiuke, lawyers, and issuing houses to the bond.
The real losers are Imo People and generations unborn who are unfortunate to have as a Governor a man who thinks more of himself, his family and a motley crowd of hangers on who daily sing hosanna music to his ears for a morsel of bread.