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Alex Otti Reveals How Ikpeazu Stole N32.2 Billion for Non-existent Airport and Other Projects

Gov Otti says he must recover N10bn looted by Ikpeazu
Gov Otti says he must recover N10bn looted by Ikpeazu

Dr. Alex Otti, Abia State Governor uncovered a web of corruption within the previous administration led by Okezie Ikpeazu.

During a presentation at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in Washington DC, Otti disclosed how a forensic audit exposed egregious misappropriation of funds.

According to Otti, the audit unearthed that a staggering sum of N32.2 billion was allocated to contractors for the construction of a non-existent state-owned airport and other infrastructure projects.

He emphasized the gravity of the situation, highlighting how N9.3 billion was disbursed to seven contractors for projects that were never executed, including the phantom airport.

Moreover, an additional N15.9 billion was paid to 63 contractors without any supporting documentation, while N12 billion was allocated to two contractors for fictitious contracts. Despite substantial payments, Otti lamented the inability to locate the purported airport, questioning the legitimacy of the transactions.

Driven by a commitment to transparency and accountability, Otti initiated the forensic audit upon assuming office in 2023, aiming to unveil the extent of financial malfeasance.

The findings underscored a systemic failure in governance, with funds intended for development squandered through corruption and mismanagement.

Addressing the dire financial situation inherited from his predecessors, Otti highlighted the daunting debt burden amounting to N192 billion left by Ikpeazu and N34.5 billion by T.A. Orji. He underscored the need for a paradigm shift, advocating for stringent measures to combat corruption and revitalize the state’s economy.

Looking towards the future, Otti outlined ambitious plans to rejuvenate Abia State’s economy through infrastructural development and strategic investments. Proposing a budget of N567.24 billion for 2024, with a substantial allocation of 84% towards infrastructure, Otti aims to catalyze economic growth, particularly in Aba, the state’s economic hub.

Key initiatives include the establishment of the Greater Aba Development Authority (GADA) to oversee the comprehensive development of the city. By prioritizing infrastructure, Otti envisions creating an enabling environment for businesses to thrive, attracting both local and foreign investments.

Otti’s revelations shed light on the endemic corruption plaguing Abia State’s governance and underscore the imperative for reform to foster sustainable development and prosperity.

This Article is Fact-Checked. See Policy.

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