The immediate past governor of Rivers State, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, has denied claims by his successor, Chief Nyesom Wike, that he (Amaechi) left an empty treasury before leaving office.
Amaechi described, in a statement from his media officer via electronic mail, as “a lie,” the claim of empty treasury by Wike, adding that he left billions of Naira in cash and assets before leaving office as governor.
The former governor recalled that Wike had, through his spokesman, Sir Opunabo Inko-Tariah, told a Port Harcourt-based radio station that he met an empty treasury when he (Wike) took over as the state governor.
Amaechi specifically said a total of N7.5billion cash was left behind as balances in the state Internally Generated Revenue Account with Skye Bank, FAAC Account with Zenith Bank, Access Bank and the state Reserve Funds in First Bank.
“This is besides other balances in the state government house account with Zenith Bank and other government MDA accounts, like the Bureau for Public Procurement.
“By the time you pull all these together, we are looking at readily available cash in the region of N8billion to N10billion left for the Wike administration. It’s also pertinent to point out here that former governor Amaechi also left economic assets worth tens of billions of Naira for the state, just like cash, the assets store value.
“These assets that are scattered in diverse sectors of the economy were developed or built or procured with revenue that accrued to the state during Amaechi’s tenure.
“The assets belong to Rivers State, not Amaechi. Some of these assets are presently yielding revenue to the state coffers, and many can be easily and readily converted to cash, if the state so desires,” Amaechi added.
The former governor, however, pointed out that it was fraudulent for Wike to claim that he left an empty treasury in trying to justify the N30billion he (Wike) took within 30 days in office as governor.
Amaechi explained that rather than continue to point accusing fingers at him, Wike should tell the people of the state what he took the loans for and justify the amount that had been spent so far.
According to the former governor, “It is therefore disingenuous and fraudulent for Wike to claim that Amaechi left an empty treasury in his bid to justify the N30billion loans he collected under 30 days in office.
“Rather than this puerile and silly distraction of always pointing accusing fingers at Amaechi, Wike should come out to explain to Rivers people what he took the loans for, account for and justify every kobo that has been spent from the loans.”
However, the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the State Governor, Sir Opunabo Inko-Tariah, described Amaechi’s claim as mendacious.
Inko-Tariah said, “It is enthralling to hear that former governor Amaechi left enough money in the state treasury. This is mendacious, a claim without an ounce of truth in it.
“If he (Amaechi) left enough as he claims, why were civil servants, pensioners, footballers and contractors owed? Even students on scholarship abroad were stranded and almost barred from sitting for their final exams.
“These obviate the need for any further evidence that the treasury was milked dry by Amaechi. Ministries got overheads last in September last year under Amaechi. It was not just the looting of the treasury, but government property.”