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HomeNewsAKHA INSPECTS STATE ROAD MAINTENANCE AGENCY’S SITE, CONDEMNS INTERNAL BICKERING

AKHA INSPECTS STATE ROAD MAINTENANCE AGENCY’S SITE, CONDEMNS INTERNAL BICKERING

akha6 (2)By Torobong Ekpo

Chairman of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly Committee on Works and Transport, Prince Idongesit Ituen, has commended Governor Udom Emmanuel for releasing funds to the Akwa Ibom State Road and other Infrastructural Maintenance Agency for the purchase of equipments to enable it serve its purpose.

Briefing newsmen after an on-the-spot assessment of facilities at the agency’s site, Uyo, the House Committee Chairman noted that “though the Governor has done very well, the effect has not been seen and felt as a result of poor management.”

Prince Ituen, who represents Itu State Constituency in the House of Assembly, urged the Director General of the agency to prioritize his goals in order to be more effective in its duty post.

The lawmaker, who was accompanied by his counterparts from Esit Eket/Ibeno and Ukanafun State Constituencies, Dr. Usoro Akpanusoh and Mr. Otobong Akpan, said the present House of Assembly was bent on raising a bar of effective representation through achievable standards that will help put the acquired machines to use.

He disclosed that the “Committee will have a meeting with the management staff of the agency to ascertain its problem and thereafter will get back to the site, to test run the acquired machines. We plead with the management not to undermine the integrity of the Governor as well as that of the political party in the discharge of its duty.
Our happiness, as a Committee, is that with the level of machines we have here, we can start repairing our roads. The Governor has done well, but the effect has not trickled down, so that is why you see us on this site.”

“We want to appreciate the Governor for releasing funds to the agency. We have seen the various equipment, we will inspect them to ascertain the possibilities of using them to maintain our roads. The Governor has invested a huge sum in this agency and yet nothing to show. So, we must get this place working.”

Earlier, the Director General of the agency, Dr. Deen Udom, who described himself as its sole administrator, disclosed that “there is an impending war between me and the Secretary of the agency, Mrs. Ekaette Henry, over the control of the agency. The Board has not been reconstituted as I am talking to you. So, you can call me a sole administrator. I have my Secretary here, who is battling everyday here for the control of the office.”

The Director General indicted his predecessors, saying “they were idle men whose stock in trades were to share money meant for the agency.”

He also accused the Governor for not releasing funds meant for the running of the agency, saying “the governor approves our proposal in principle. No money has been released to us. We use our imprest to work here because we don’t want this site to remain dormant as it used to be. The proposal for the release of fund to fuel and oil the machineries is in the Governor’s table. Till date, he has not approved anything, hence, the reason; we can’t move the machines here. In the last administration, we had 17 Board members out of which eight were statutory; seven were full time Directors. When I came in, I asked what the full time Directors were doing. The answer was that they were doing nothing, except for sharing money.”
On the amount of money used in purchasing the equipment, the Director General, however, said he was responsible to only the Governor, not the lawmakers and the people of the state, adding that aside from Hillux vehicle, all other equipments were fairly used.

“The total money was given to us. It is the Governor, who gave me the money, is the person I am only accountable to, not lawmakers,” he said.

On the date the machines arrived, he said “The machine started arriving by December 2015.”

In his reaction, Secretary of the agency, Mrs. Ekaette Henry, disclosed that all the equipments were purchased by the ‘sole administrator,’ stressing that despite being a Secretary, she was not privilege to see copies of invoice for the purchase.

Meanwhile, a legal practitioner in the state, Mr. Aniekan Ikpeme, has attributed the inability of the Director General to reveal the sum of money to the lawmakers as act of stealing by false pretence, pointing out that the Legislators and even the Press by the freedom of Information law, has the right to know the actual amount spent on a project.

He described the Director’s attitude as a criminal offense punishable under the Criminal Code, stressing that either the Governor is conniving to milk the state dry or the Director General is just a cocky man.

In his words, “That is a clear case of stealing by false pretence, which is contrary to section 419 of the Criminal code. The lawmakers and the entire people of the state have the right to know how much is spent on project, after all, it is their tax money.”

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