Ahead of the 2019 general elections and accumulated anger from the 2015 governorship election, the Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa last Tuesday showed his chameleon nature when he brought officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to Asaba, the state capital to grill and arrest former officials of the immediate past administration of Dr. Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan and perceived political opponents.
The EFCC officials, our reporter reliably learned arrived the state capital, Asaba, Tuesday and were lodged in a hotel by the Principal Secretary (PS) to Governor Okowa, who has taken over as the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mr. Hilary Ibegbulem, said to be working under the instructions of the governor.
The commission officials who spent two days in Asaba were stationed at the office of the figurehead Secretary to State Government (SSG), Mr. Ovie Agas, were former Permanent Secretaries who served under the Uduaghan’s-led administration and staffers of the Ministry of Science and Technology among others were vigorously grilled.
A visit by our reporter to the SSG’s office on Wednesday and Thursday, the immediate past Permanent Secretary, Government House, Asaba and former 2015 PDP governorship aspirant, Mr. Tony Obuh, some former Permanent Secretaries and officials of the immediate past government, staffers of the Ministry Science and Technology and others were seen around the SSG’s office waiting to be grilled.
It was reliably learned that shortly after the two days grilling, the immediate past Permanent Secretary, Government House, Asaba and former 2015 PDP governorship aspirant, Mr. Obuh and two other persons were arrested by the EFCC operatives and whisked away to Abuja for further questioning.
Impeccable staffers at the office of the SSG and Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice who pleaded anonymity confided in our reporter that Permanent Secretaries in all ministries were ordered to submit all relevant government documents to the EFCC operatives at the grilling centre at the SSG’s office.
“The SSG’S office was converted to temporary office of EFCC for the two days. Though all the documents were first taken to our office, the office of the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice by all the Permanent Secretaries where some vital documents that could erroneously implicate the governor were removed and the remaining sent to the centre. The team was actually brought in by the governor since Tuesday and were lodged in a hotel. Currently, the targets are those who were used against the governor during the 2015 elections especially those who contested with him during the PDP governorship primaries.
“In the next few weeks, another set of the operatives of the commission will be visiting the state again to invite and carry more investigations on more persons seen as obstacle to the governor before, during and after the elections. In our ministry here, the governor has already directed our commissioner and we are collating documents and other papers to be forwarded to anti-corruption agencies to arrest and prosecute some officials of the immediate past administration. Government officials have been warned not to speak to any Journalist on the issue.” a staff at the Justice ministry stated.
It was gathered that, Governor Okowa who is particularly not happy with his predecessor for sponsoring the likes of the immediate past Permanent Secretary, Government House, Asaba and former 2015 PDP governorship aspirant, Mr. Obuh and others against him during the PDP primaries has vowed to use anti-corruption agents to hurt those who stood against him.
One of the officials of the commission who refused to mention his name confided in our reporter that they are in the state on the invitation of the state governor to investigate some persons especially officials of the past administration as well as lawmakers.
“For the past two days we have been in town scrutinizing relevant government documents both for contracts award and others in the conference room of the office of the Secretary to the State Government. Some officials of the former administration were invited and documents were tendered which we scrutinized. We shall be back again but for the now we are going with the former Permanent Secretary, Government House, Asaba, Mr. Obuh and two other persons to our office in Abuja.” the EFCC official stated.
It was gathered that next in line to be invited for grilling, is the former Speaker and 2015 PDP governorship aspirant, Mr. Victor Ochei who is now member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as relevant documents concerning the award of the controversial multi-billion naira Delta state Independent Power Plant (IPP) contract have been submitted to the commission by the state governor.
When contacted, the state commissioner for information, Mr. Patrick Ukah said he was not aware and promised to get in touch with the SSG and get back but never did while the SSG Mr. Ovie Agas, hanged on his phone immediately our reporter mentioned the issue.
Contacted, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, spokesman for EFCC confirmed the story.