Amaechi: I Ran A Transparent Government, I Never Received N3trillion As Rivers Gov
Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi has again reiterated
that as governor of Rivers State for eight years, he was transparent and
did not embezzle money meant for the people.
Amaechi said, as governor, he did not receive over N3.trillion naira as
alleged by his successor, Nyesom Wike.
Amaechi made the clarification at a stakeholders’ forum on corruption
organised by the Federal Ministry of Justice in Abuja, Thursday.
He also said Rivers State became the first to implement the Bureau of
Public Procurement (BPP) act in Nigeria during his tenure as governor of
According to Amaechi, “If you had followed the Rivers State government
when I was governor, we were the first state to introduce the Public
Procurement Law in the country. The State cabinet used to call the
Director General of Public Procurement in the state as an alternative
governor, that they wanted an amendment to that law. The reason they
wanted amendment is that he (DG) refused to increase the threshold to one
hundred million naira, per ministry, instead he reduced it to ten million
“I had a battle with him (DG BPE) and the world bank who insisted that we
should not go for an amendment but should persuade him to increase the
threshold. I remember the cabinet tried to go to court against him and I
remember that he was also trying to go to court against Commissioners. In
fact, the procurement DG wrote a memo that I felt was very incriminating
requesting that since the law requires the governor to take any
commissioner who doesn't comply with the public procurement law to court,
I should please take the commissioner of education to court for not
complying… Everybody in the cabinet felt that he was an alternative
governor, they felt that he was slowing the process”, he said.
Amaechi said transparency in the use of public funds was key to his
administration as governor, noting that the Rivers community was fully
briefed periodically on how funds were been utilised.
“Within that period we insisted on engaging the indigenous communities on
how much we received and how we spent the money. That is why I feel that
after this ministerial appointment, I should do everything possible to
stay away from government because in spite of all the forms of
transparency I introduced in government, one man could begin to tell lies
to Nigerians and Nigerians believe him.
“The governor of Rivers State said I squandered N3trillion naira. I did
not receive up to N1.8 trillion naira as governor both from IGR and funds
from federal allocation. So, how could I have squandered money I did not
even receive in the first place? You can see the politics of lies and
lies,” he said.
“As Minister of Transportation, I run an open and transparent system. I
believe in name and shame. What name and shame does is, if you name and
shame those of them who don't have conscience they won't come to public
functions. I do have conscience. In fact, it was the word corruption that
brought me to this occasion because I wanted to see who will get up and
say to me, 'this is evidence that you are corrupt.'
“We went to court against the Rivers State government on their allegation
of corruption against me. The Court of Appeal said, produce that document
that found this man (Amaechi) guilty of those crimes and up till today he
(Wike) has not produced it,” Amaechi said.
The Transport Minister also told the audience to draw closer to
government, pay more attention and engage political appointees to an open
“Please come to all of us in government, all the ministers in government
and engage us on open government. For me, for ministry of transportation
any information you want please write to us we will not only give you, we
will give you on time. This is because all of us that have become
ministers have been entrusted by the President. His first policy is
corruption; the second one is economic development. We have been appointed
by the President to go and do those following things to ensure that there
is fund that we save from the people's money to develop the community and
the community we have is the Nigerian community.
“Indeed you are our leaders, we are here by the grace of God and by your
grace and we believe that you have the right to ask questions. We believe
that you have the right to demand accountability from ministers. We
believe that nobody has the right to rise from just being an ordinary
graduate of a university by courtesy of holding public office, he now owns
mansions, cars…” Amaechi stated.
Earlier, in his speech the Attorney General and Minister of Justice
Abubakar Malami said, “ As you are all aware, President Buhari made
fighting corruption one of the pillars of this administration's policy.
Since assuming office, every effort has been made to build on and expand
on what was initiated by previous governments. Amongst these key
priorities is the need to recover stolen funds and to pay back to the
Nigerian society what they have lost to corruption.
“You may recall that during the London Anti-Corruption Summit, President
Muhammadu Buhari presented a country statement on actions that would be
implemented by the government of Nigeria on anti-corruption reforms.
“The foregoing establishes the fact that Nigeria has always appreciated
the importance of open government as a means of ensuring transparency and
accountability in conduct of government business. It is the current
administration's position that commitment to the promotion of open
government in Nigeria would resonate strongly with the message of “change”
that the new administration represents,” he said.
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