Salaries, pensions payment on hold as EFCC, ICPC swoop on Imo accounts.
Payment of salary and pension arrears are being delayed in Imo State, as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corruption Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) swooped on some of the state’s financial accounts.
This followed series of petitions on alleged illegal financial transactions by the outgoing administration of Governor Rochas Okorocha.
Confirming the development in Owerri, Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mark Uchendu, said it was usual for the opposition party to query the financial status of an outgoing administration, especially during a transition period.
He disclosed that the development has resulted in the inability to pay salaries and pensions arrears, as well as offset other financial transactions in the state.
“Naturally, because there is a transition, a lot of petitions have been sent to the ICPC, EFCC, and banks. Some people even went to court.
“Yes, few of the state’s accounts, which are major and very vital for salary payment and others, are not free for us now by virtue of petitions from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and others.
“You know when these petitions get to the agencies and they think they are correct, they will start pushing instructions on such accounts. That is our major handicap.
“But those petitions are false and baseless. We have also written to the EFCC, telling them of the dangers of putting the state in a precarious situation, if salaries are not paid,” Uchendu stated.
But in a swift reaction, Chairman of organized labor in the state, Austin Chilakpo, said workers would not be cowed by government’s excuses over their unpaid salaries and pensions.
He said labor gave the state till the end of this week to sort out the issues and clear all arrears or they would be forced to take appropriate action.
Also, the State Caretaker Committee Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Enyinna Onuegbu, said the state government should tell the truth on why it has not paid salaries and stop playing to the gallery.
Imo State Governor-elect, Emeka Ihedioha, through a statement by his Media Aide, Chibuike Onyeukwu, had earlier cautioned banks in the state to stop new transactions with the state government or continue to do so at their own risk.