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IMPEACHMENT SAGA: Aniocha North Council Chairman May Be Sacked … As Councilors Alleges fraudulent practices

… Discountenance them, Allegation Is Frivolous --- Chairman
By Kenneth Orusi, The Nigerian Voice, Asaba

The tsunami of impeachment has hit Aniocha north local government council as the Legislative Arm unanimously passed a vote of no confidence on the chairman of the council over alleged “fraudulent practices and violation of due process”.

It was learnt that the leadership of the House under Hon. Nwaonye Origin Ekene, at its sitting on Tuesday 13th November, 2018, was waiting for the preparation of the votes and proceedings for the sitting to enable them pass their resolutions to the appropriate quarters in line with the extant laws, when the Clerk of the legislative arm allegedly connived with the chairman and absconded with the votes and proceedings.

The leadership of the Legislative Arm, realizing the betrayal of the Clerk, Petitioned the Delta State House of Assembly through the Speaker, alleging fraudulent practices and violation of due process on the part of the Chairman, while reporting the collaboration and neglect of duty of the Clerk, even as they prayed the House to immediately investigate the council boss as well as the immediate removal of the Clerk of the Legislative Arm.

The Petition tilled: “Vote of No Confidence on Hon. Oseme Chukwugoziem, Executive Chairman Aniocha North Local Government Council, Issele-Uku And Request For Investigation”, dated 13th November, 2018, was addressed to the Speaker through the Chairman House Committee on Public Accounts, Hon. Anthony Elekeokwuri and copied the member representing Aniocha North in the State House of Assembly, Hon. Emeka Nwaobi.

The petition as obtained reads:
“I wish to bring to your notice that the Aniocha North Local Government Legislative Arm at its sitting of Today the 13th day of November, 2018 resolved and passed a vote of no confidence on the Executive Chairman, Hon. Oseme Chukwugoziem based on fraudulent practices and violation of due process as listed below:

“Flagrant disregard of the Governor’s directive on the payment of non-pensionable staff despite monthly release of 1.5 million for their payment as confirmed by the TLG and HPM since September, 2016 till date vide circular letter with reference No: F.N. 554/Vol ll/439 (Please See attached).

“Under-payment of some of the non-pensionable staff viz: #7,500 as against #15,000 and #5,000 as against #25,000 and total non-compliance particularly on Youth Corpers serving in the Local Government Council.

“Spending without authorization of expenditure in default of appropriation contrary to section 148(57) of the Delta State Local Government Law 2013 as amended.

“Refusal to submit income and expenditure on a monthly basis as stipulated in Section 135(23) C. Of the local government law.

“Spending above Chairman’s spending limit without recourse to the Executive Committee as Exco was inaugurated on the 14th of June, 2018 contrary to Section 158(73)I of the Delta State Local Government Law 2013 as amended.

“Mandating the Treasurer to the Local Government not to appear before the legislative arm after several invitations, thereby undermining the powers of the House contrary to section 146 (46)2.

“Refusal to explain the whereabout of the earth-moving equipment of the Council and proceeds from hiring the equipment and mandating the TLG not to appear before the House to explain the proceeds thereto.

“Refusal to honour several invitations from the Legislative House to explain matters relating to income and expenditure. (see attached please) as he said that Councilors have no constitutional power to oversight the Executive Chairman at Council Level.

“Selling of serviceable soundproof generators in some Health Centres as scraps (see attached please)

“Selling of brand new transformer donated by NDDC to Aniocha North Local Government Council in 2007.

“Selling of the Council’s serviceable official vehicles, e.g black Hilux purchased by previous administration in 2007 without due process to his cronies and aids.

“Operating more than one consolidated revenue account of the Council contrary to section 147 sub-section 55 paragraph 1 of the Local Government Law 2013 as amended. Eg. Zenith, UBA, FCMB and Microfinance Bank.

“Squandering of Ten Million Naira (N10,000,000) given by his Excellency, the Governor of Delta State meant for capital projects without doing any project since May this year.

“Travelling outside the Country without handing over to his deputy contrary to section 137(28) 1-3 of the Local Government Law.

“Refusal to submit statement of account of the Council to ascertain the income accruable to the Council which determines expenditure e.g wage bills and other vouchers.

“Retrieval and diversion of the sum of N3,000,000 (three million naira) paid by the Council to Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) and pocketing same.

“Refusal to explain the biometric savings expenditures for which a special account was created at FCMB contrary to section 147 (55)I of the Local Government Law.

“Refusal to assent to the budget which was passed by the Legislative House since 23rd of August, 2018 thereby spending without authorization contrary to section 146(50)3.

“Since 14th of June, 2018 that the Exco was inaugurated, they have not sat for more than two times contrary to section 34 sub-sections 3 and 4 of the Delta State Local Government Law 2013 as amended.

“Refusal to pay the Sergeant-at-Arms of the Legislative Arm since January till date saying that there is nothing like Sergeant-at Arms (see attached committee report).

“Refusal to give the Legislative House running cost and imprest of which we have been levying ourselves to run the House since January to date.

“Conniving with the Clerk of the House to stampede and frustrate the Legislative House by mandating the Clerk not to produce the votes and proceedings where the resolutions were taken; and conniving to back-date the draft budget for assent.”

The Prayers of the Legislative Arm which was also included in the petition reads thus:

“We pray the Speaker and Honourable Members of Delta State House of Assembly to:

“Based on his refusal to appear before the House and undermining the House numerous invitations and his continuous slogan that “The councillors have no constitutional power to oversight the Executive Chairman at the Council Level. We pray you to come to our aid and save the entire people of Aniocha North by:

Setting up an investigation panel of inquiry, relying on, section 131 (II)1 of Delta State Local Government Law 2013 as amended.

Requesting for every necessary financial record relying on section 131(11)3 of the Delta State Local Government law 2013 as amended,

We pray the Delta State House of Assembly to invoke section 137(30)1 of Delta State Local Government Law 2013, as amended.

Investigate the TLG, former HPM, HOD Works and the Clerk of the House Aniocha North Local Government Council.

Removal of the Clerk of the House for complicity and dereliction of duty.”

But addressing members of the state chapter of Online Media Practitioners Association of Nigeria (OMPAN), in his office Wednesday 21st November 2018, Chairman of the council rather called on the public to discountenance the allegation as he runs an open door policy.

“I run a transparent government in the council. Our books are checked from time to time by the Auditor-General of the local government. Those allegations are all frivolous. If majority of the councilors believe in what I do, that is all what we want”, describing the petition as him as one of the hazards of the job.

While saying that everything has process, he called the legislators as cowards for patronizing the social media, “going to the social media is cowardice, anybody can lay allegation. I am in good working relationship with the councilors; it is a personal vendetta from a person. The person should know that he is a minority, we have 14 councilors, one person is not equal to 14”, he said.