Why I might step away from government - Minister

Amaechi denied allegations levelled against him by his successor in Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, that he received over N3.1 trillion during his tenure.

 

Lamenting what he described as “deliberate attempt” to link public office holders to corruption, Amaechi said he did not steal money from the Rivers State treasury throughout his term as governor.

The Minister, who stated this at a meeting on corruption organised by the ministry of justice, denied allegations levelled against him by his successor, Nyesom Wike, that he received over N3.1 trillion during his tenure.

“I feel that after this ministerial appointment, I should do everything possible to stay away from government because in spite of all the forms of transparency I introduced in government, one man could begin to tell lies to Nigerians and Nigerians believe him,” he said.

“The governor of Rivers state said I squandered N3 trillion. I did not receive up to N1.8 trillion as governor both from IGR and funds from federal allocation. So, how could I have squandered money I did not even receive in the first place? You can see the politics of lies and lies.”

Amaechi said he prioritised transparency when it came to public funds during his administration, adding that  he ensured the people of Rivers were periodically briefed on  how funds were being spent.

He said under him as governor, the state became the first to implement the bureau of public procurement (BPP) act.

He added: “If you had followed the Rivers state government when I was governor, we were the first state to introduce the public procurement law in the country. The state cabinet used to call the director-general of public procurement in the state as an alternative governor, that they wanted an amendment to that law,” he said.

“The reason they wanted amendment is that he (DG) refused to increase the threshold to one hundred million naira, per ministry, instead he reduced it to 10 million naira.

“I had a battle with him (DG BPE) and the world bank who insisted that we should not go for an amendment but should persuade him to increase the threshold. I remember the cabinet tried to go to court against him and I remember that he was also trying to go to court against commissioners.

“In fact, the procurement DG wrote a memo that I felt was very incriminating requesting that since the law requires the governor to take any commissioner who doesn’t comply with the public procurement law to court, I should please take the commissioner of education to court for not complying… Everybody in the cabinet felt that he was an alternative governor, they felt that he was slowing the process.”

Amaechi and Wike had on Tuesday, July 26 entered into a peace deal brokered by the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris and the Director-General of the Department of State Service, Alhaji Musa Daura, to allow a violence-free rerun legislative election in Rivers.

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