Panel To Probe Amaechi Begins Sitting In Port Harcourt
The probe panel set-up to investigate the immediate past administration of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi has said it is not out to witch-hunt anyone.
Chairman of the committee, Justice George Omereji said this during his inaugural address to declare the sitting open.
Justice Omereji said the commission would give room for fair hearing to all parties, adding that all parties had the liberty to contract the services of any legal representative of their choice.
While highlighting the terms of reference of the committee, Justice Omereji said the Judicial Commission of enquiry would among other things, investigate the sale of the valued assets of Rivers State.
He said, “I must state here that the Commission is a fact finding body and not a court of Law. It is not on a witch hunting mission and its activities would be strictly based on the memoranda submitted by the parties.
“The Commission shall uphold the principle of fair hearing, give adequate and equal opportunities to all concerned persons to state their cases and tender relevant documents that shall assist the commission.”
DAILY POST reports that the former Commissioner for Agriculture, Emma Chinda, who was invited to offer explanations on four billion naira agricultural loan failed to honour the invitation.
However, the Permanent Secretary of the Rivers state Ministry of Agriculture, Sotonye Atari-Okoye said the immediate past governor of the state, Rotimi Amaechi approved the sum of three billion naira for the Agricultural credit scheme and not four billion naira as widely speculated.
Atari Okoye made the disclosure during her cross examination by the probe panel.
She said an excess of N2.9 million was disbursed to different co-operative societies as approved by the former commissioner for Agriculture, Emma Chinda.
Also, the Director of Planning, Research and Statistics in the Ministry of Agric, Chijioke Amadi who appeared before the panel said more than two thousand co-operative and agro-allied societies benefitted from the grant.
Amadi who was also the Chairman of the Agric credit committee told the panel that the selection of the beneficiaries were done at the discretion of the then commissioner.
The Permanent Secretary of the state Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Cordelia Morris-Peterside was also cross examined over issues of the registration of the co-operative societies that benefitted from the said N4 billion agricultural grant.
The commission in its memo had discovered that most of the co-operative societies that benefitted from the grant were linked to former Local government Chairmen of the 23 local government areas of the state.
Counsel to the Commission, Zacheus Adangor, asked the panel to give an order to mandate the former Commissioner, Emma Chinda to appear before it.