Members of the Abia State House of Assembly have expressed dismay at government parastatals that are owing their staff wages running into months despite receiving monthly subventions from the state government, generating revenues without remitting any amount to the coffers of the state.
Moving a motion of Urgent Public Importance for the House to investigate the activities of some agencies of the Abia State Government, the Majority Leader, Solomon Akpulonu, lamented the level of corruption in some of the parastatals especially ABSU, AbiaPoly, Health Management Board, BCA, School of Health among others and called on the House to investigate the operations and finances of these institutions with a view to stemming the ugly tide and not hesitate to wield the big stick where necessary, no matter who is found wanting.
Speaking further, Akpulonu who represents Obingwa East State Constituency said, “Some of these institutions operate up to 20 accounts without being accountable. For example, Abia State Polytechnic has up to 20 accounts that empty into private pockets. Mr Speaker, some of these agencies of Government generate monies but all the funds go into private accounts. We must call them to give account”.
Supporting the motion, Deputy Leader of the House, Hon. Paul Taribo, said, “This matter is very important. I have discovered that among Heads of these agencies of government, there are bitter infightings among management staff, and you ask, what are they fighting for? Nothing else other than how to embezzle the money that is supposed to be used to run these Institutions and pay their workers’ salaries. We can no longer continue to fold our hands here thinking that all will be well by itself. We have to act now!”.
Hon. Godwin Adiele, Hon. Jerry Uzosike, Hon. Ginger Onwusibe, Hon. Emeka Okoroafor, all Members representing Ukwa West, Umuahia South, Isiala Ngwa North and Isuikwuato state constituencies respectively, and the Deputy Speaker, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Uchendu, all aligned themselves to the motion and wondered why these institutions which generate revenues they neither pay into government coffers nor account for because of the non-interference of the executive in their operations, still receive subventions, yet, find it difficult to pay salaries of their staff. They therefore urged the House to treat the issue decisively and bring to book anyone that might have compromised themselves.
Ruling on the matter, the Speaker, Rt Hon Chinedum Orji, agreed with the submissions of his colleagues, saying, “there is no better time to stop this menace of revenue leakages and non-payment of salaries to staff by management of these institutions.”
The committees to carry out the investigations were announced as follows:
Committee to Investigate the operations of ABSU, Abia State College of Education (Technical), Arochukwu (ASCETA)
Hon. Kennedy Njoku – Chairman
Hon. Taribo Paul – Member
Hon Kelechi Onuzuruike –Member
Emeka Otumchere – Secretary
Committee to Investigate Abia State Polytechnic (AbiaPoly), Aba
Hon Jerry Uzosike – Chairman
Hon Chijioke Chukwu – Member
Pastor Mike Ugochukwu – Secretary
Committee to Investigate School Of Health, Aba
Barr Emeka Okoroafor- Chairman
Hon Stanley Nwabuisi – Member
Hon Godwin Adiele – Member
Hon Nnamdi Allen- Member
Amaka Ukwu-Rocks – Secretary
Committee to Investigate Broadcasting Corporation of Abia (BCA), Umuahia.
Hon Ginger Onwsuibe – Chairman
Hon Chijioke Chukwu- Member
Mr Kingsley Alozie – Secretary
While reminding the committees that Abians were looking up to them to end the disturbing cycle of non-payment of salaries occasioned by corrupt practices by management of the institutions, the Speaker said the process has just begun and that it is going to be a continued one.