Tony Akowe Reports
The Coalition for Good Governance and Economic Justice in Africa has called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Commission (ICPC) to immediately commence a comprehensive probe the administration of Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo over allegations of money laundering.
The coalition said the investigation has became necessary in view of the reported arrest of serving Commissioner in the state, Osaze Osemwingie-Ero, by Interpol in France while allegedly in the possession of $2million.
But the Edo state government has since said that the arrest of the Commissioner has nothing to do with money laundering, but about his past as an alleged cultist.
Speaking at a news conference in Abuja on Sunday, Country Director of the organisation, John Mayaki also called for a public inquiry into the reported charges of money laundering while accusing Governor Obaseki for damaging public trust.
Mayaki, who is also a former Spokesman to Governor Obaseki said the EFCC should immediately launch an investigation into the perceived organized crime of money laundering, while also expanding its scope to the several Memorandum of Understanding [MOUs] announced by the Obaseki-administration involving millions of dollars but without any physical manifestation or reported progress.
Mayaki said, Its safe to say here that the public trust has been badly damaged by these allegations of money laundering in Europe, the statement read.
The EFCC has to immediately intervene to save the country and the administration of President Muhammad Buhari from looming international embarrassment since major national newspapers already reported the discovery of the dirty money allegedly amounting to $2m.
The poor response from the Edo state government over this humongous scandal and the attempt to conceal the dirty money while also denying the victim (Mr. Osaze Osewingie Ero), is an indication that Governor Godwin Obaseki has inadvertently owned up to the crime and must be brought to book.
He said the public condemnation trailing the arrest and criminal discovery both home and abroad reiterates that Nigerians detest corruption and government mismanagement of public funds and it is, therefore, the EFCCs obligation to bring under scrutiny the financial records and dealings of the Edo State government, particularly as it concerns the spurious singings of MOUs and other arranged partnership with some foreign bodies where only sums are supposedly paid but without transparency or implementation.
Godwin Obaseki has faced several allegations of widespread cases of maladministration in his three-year stay in office as the Governor of Edo State.
For months, the governor has refused requests from journalists to make public the spendings of the government under his watch, particularly contract awarding process and figures, following reports that his friends and cronies are favored in a contract arrangement involving inflation of costs and poor quality delivery, Mayaki said.