…Allegations laughable, baseless, politically motivated – Gov’s spokesperson
A human rights organisation under the aegis of Network Against Corruption and Trafficking on Tuesday in Abuja called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission to investigate Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State over alleged financial impropriety and money laundering.
The organisation cited an audit report of the state treasury between 2015 and 2020, which, it said, allegedly exposed how Ayade squandered state resources while serving as governor.
Details of the report given to journalists during a press conference in Abuja said that Ayade allegedly diverted funds meant for infrastructure development, workers’ welfare, and other critical sectors to personal use.
But when contacted, Ayade’s Chief Press Secretary, Christian Ita, told journalists the claims were baseless and politically motivated.
He accused NACAT of being a tool in the hands of opposition politicians, who were desperate to tarnish the governor’s image.
“Please, before I respond, kindly do us a favour, and calculate how much allocations have come to the state in eight years. They’re published by the Federal Government. The state hasn’t earned that kind of money in eight years. So, from where did he see N500 million to steal?”, Ita said.
The Spokesperson for NACAT, Iteveh Ekpokpobe, stated that the audit report showed that Ayade’s administration mismanaged over N500 billion ($1.2 billion) during his first tenure as governor.
He also alleged that the governor engaged in money laundering activities, using his personal businesses, Leophina Works Limited and Hally Brown International Limited, to siphon state funds.
“We are calling on the EFCC and ICPC to immediately commence an investigation into Governor Ayade’s activities while in office.
“The audit report clearly shows that he misused state resources and engaged in financial crimes. We believe that he must be held accountable for his actions and made to face the full wrath of the law”, Ekpokpobe said.
NACAT also submitted a petition to the EFCC and ICPC, calling for a thorough investigation into Ayade’s financial dealings.
The organisation urged the anti-corruption agencies to act swiftly and ensure that justice is served.