Chairman of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) and member of the Board of Nigeria Stock Exchange, NSE, Prof. Herbert Orji, has alleged that the immediate past governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Kalu, plunged the state into serious debt at the end of his eight-year tenure.
In a statement made available to journalists in Umuahia, the Abia State capital on Thursday, the NBC boss alleged that Mr. Kalu left behind a staggering N55bn deficit and bank loans, which he said could not be accounted for by the ex-governor’s administration.
Orji explained that when the state’s accounts were audited, “it was discovered that there was high scale mismanagement, which made it difficult for the present administration of Chief T.A. Orji to perform the miracle expected of it”.
He also alleged that Kalu could not account for the N1.8bn given to his government by Pension Office to pay Abians, who worked in federal institutions.
According to Orji, the said sum disappeared without any trace while the affected workers have not been paid till date.
The statement read in part, “The administration before T.A. Orji, I’m sorry to say this, did not quite get Abia right. However, when you are acquiring a company, you take both assets and liabilities- that was what T.A. took.
“There was N55bn unaccounted for when we did the audit, and the previous administration had agreed that every month a certain amount had to be distributed to the 22 banks.
“We tried to review it but the Attorney General of the Federation said we could not change it. Every month, at source, N1.5bn was deducted to pay the banks.
“Also, we found out that N1.8bn given by the Pension Office for Abia workers, who had worked in federal institutions, disappeared. So it became extremely difficult for Governor T.A. Orji to perform the magic”.
The NSE top shot expressed surprise that despite the huge debt profile inherited by the present governor, his administration had delivered a number of key projects in the state.
He noted that despite that, N1.5bn was deducted from the state’s monthly allocation from the federation account to service the 22 banks owed, Gov. Orji was able to complete “32 solid projects”.
He hailed the governor for rehabilitating some federal roads in the state including Umuahia-Bende-Ohafia road and the Umuahia-Uzoakoli-Abaribe road.