A coalition of civil societies under the aegis of Network Against Corruption and Trafficking (NACAT) has petitioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over alleged financial impropriety against Gov. Ben Ayade of Cross River.

The Spokesperson for NACAT, Mr Iteveh Ekpokpobe, in a news conference in Abuja cited an audit report of the state treasury between 2015 and 2020, accusing Ayade of squandered state resources.

Details of the report accused Ayade of diverting funds meant for infrastructure development, workers’ welfare, and other critical sectors to personal use.

According to Ekpokpobe, the audit report shows that Ayade’s administration mismanaged over N500 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 Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) to immediately commence an investigation into Gov. 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.

He said that NACAT, through a comprehensive audit, discovered financial irregularities ranging from circumvention of procurement processes, suspicious payments of monies, possible money laundering, to award of contracts to non-existent Shell Companies.

“It is on this note that we are calling on the EFCC to quickly invite him to give clarification on these blatant irregularities bothering on wanton looting of the Cross River State’s treasury to the tune of over N500 billion

“These financial manipulations have cost the good people of Cross River State, money amounting to over 500 billion Naira, under the watch of Prof. Ben Ayade,’’ Ekpokpobe said.

But when contacted, Ayade’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr Christian Ita, told newsmen that the claims were laughable, 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 billion to steal,” Ita said. (NAN)

By Editor

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