From VAL OKARA, Owerri
The Imo State House of Assembly yesterday denied allegation that it gave approval to the state government to obtain loan of N45 billion from the Zenith Bank Plc. The Clerk of the State House of Assembly, Chief Chris Duru was recently quizzed by the operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over purported resolution by the legislature granting approval to the state executive to obtain N45 billion loan facility.
The Chairman, House Committee on Information, Chief Acho Ihim, during a press briefing dismissed the allegation, stressing that the state legislature did not authorise the executive to obtain N45 billion. The legislature was reacting to a petition allegedly written by Chief C.O.C Akaolisa to the Attorney General of the Federation accusing the state lawmakers of giving approval to the state government to obtain a loan of N45 billion from the Zenith Bank Plc.
“The truth of the matter is that at no point did the House authorize the executive to obtain N45 billion loan and it had since confirmed that the executive did not obtain any such loan from Zenith Bank or indeed any other bank.” Chief Ihim, who is representing Okigwe state constituency in the Assembly stated that the clerk of the House informed the EFCC operatives that there was no resolution by the state legislators authorising the state government to obtain a loan of N45 billion from Zenith Bank.
“The legislature is the only arm of government empowered by the constitution to grant approval for the executive to secure loans and other facilities. And the Imo State House of Assembly stands willing to approve any it considers necessary for the good governance of Imo State.” He further stated that the EFCC’s visit to the House had nothing to do with contract scam or employment racketeering.
But reacting, Chief Akaolisa disclosed that the state chapter of ALGON petitioned EFCC and other agencies, alleging that the state government obtained N45 billion loan from Zenith Bank with the approval of the state House of Assembly. According to him, the state local government allocation was used as collateral for the loan, alleging that the LGA account domiciled at Zenith Bank.