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I Did Not Receive Bribe from a Contractor


Embattled Deputy Governor of Imo State, Sir Jude Agbaso, has denied allegations by the state House of Assembly that he received the sum of N458 million as kickback in a contract scam involving Messrs JPROS International Nigeria Limited.  This came as the state government yesterday  according to Thisday said it did not lock the office of the embattled deputy governor or  prevent him from  carrying out his official duties as reported by some media houses,

The members of the Assembly last week passed a vote of no confidence on Agbaso, sequel to an impeachment proceeding but the deputy governor in an interview with journalists in Owerri at the weekend, he alleged  that it was all about 2015, and a subsisting agreement to hand over power to Owerri zone in 2015.

According to him, “this whole thing stems from the various players’ agitation as to the situation in 2015. I have heard stories about speculations about who runs in 2015 and who does not; I know there is a subsisting agreement in the public domain between my elder brother, Chief Martin Agbaso, who happens to be a politician, and our dear governor, Chief Rochas Okorocha, to hand over power to the people of Owerri zone in 2015.

“I have heard that this has everything to do with it.  But I can tell you it has nothing to do with the person of the deputy governor as we speak. And I think that, sooner than later, this whole story would be unraveled.

“Let me state that I have maintained a robust and cordial relationship with Okorocha.”

The deputy governor, while stating his own side of the matter, said he did not at any time tender a letter of resignation as was stated by certain sections of the media neither did he contemplate resigning from the office “massively given to me by the people of this state.

“I never resigned, I never intend to resign and I will continue to serve the people of the state until the mandate given to me elapses.

“On the allegation that I am being impeached by the state Assembly bothering on allegation that I received bribe money to the tune of N458m, I want to also seize this opportunity to state that at no time did I demand N458m or any sum of money from any contractor whatsoever in the state. And at no time did the contractor, Joseph Dina, pay me the cumulative sum of N458m.”

Meanwhile, the state government described the reports that it locked the office of the deputy governor as “gross inaccuracies and outright lies.” The state Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr. Chinedu Offor, stated that the report was aimed at tarnishing the image of the government by some section of the media about recent events as it concerns the ongoing investigation of alleged corruption leveled against the Deputy Governor.

He said “I wish to state that contrary to reports in the media, the Deputy Governor continues to carry out the responsibilities  of his office and in fact joined Governor Rochas Okorocha on inspection of projects around the state on  Friday, when speculations  were rife that he has been impeached  or that his office has been sealed off.”

According to him, these deliberate attempts by some paid agents masquerading as media practitioners speaks volumes of the level of desperation of some forces to overheat the polity and drag the state governor into what is essentially an attempt  by the Imo  State House of Assembly  to determine the veracity of an allegation made against a senior government official in line with Governor Okorocha’s  agenda of zero tolerance for corruption. 

Offor said that due to the cordial relationship between the governor and his deputy, the governor at the invitation of Agbaso, had severally postponed his planned trip to wade into the matter with a view of finding out the truth through a process  that is fair, lawful and constitutional.

“It is therefore mischievous and unprofessional for some section of the media to accuse Okorocha of being behind  the travails of the Deputy Governor”.

 He added that the governor lacked the powers to interfere in the constitutional duties of the Imo State House of Assembly, and should not be linked to the ongoing investigation, noting that Okorocha’s interest remained  to ensure  Agbaso  gets the opportunity to prove his innocence. 

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