Gerald Irona has no Case With EFCC—Aide

August 22, 2021
gerald Irona imo state

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

The immediate past Deputy Governor of Imo State, Mr Gerald Irona, has denied reports that he was arrested by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The politician, who was sacked from office alongside his boss, Mr Emeka Ihedioha, by a supreme court judgement that brought in Mr Hope Uzodinma, said via a statement from his media aide, Mr Walter Duru, said he has no case with the anti-graft agency.

The statement said reports that Mr Irona was “intercepted at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja and taken to the EFCC headquarters for interrogation” was not only false but also malicious.

It was alleged that Mr Irona was picked up by the EFCC for allegedly collecting N400 million monthly from the account of the Imo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (ISOPADEC) in their short stay in power.

It was also alleged that he mismanaged N5 billion counterpart funds for the Rural Access Mobility Project (RAMP) and that he failed to return his passport to the EFCC after using it last year.

But Mr Duru, in a statement made available to Business Post, disclosed that, “For the avoidance of doubt, immediate past Deputy Governor of Imo State, Gerald Irona was neither invited nor arrested by operatives of the EFCC or any other law enforcement agency in Nigeria.”

He added that Mr Irona was not under any form of investigation whatsoever, noting that he is relaxing in his residence and is not arrested, invited or wanted as reported.

According to him, “The allegation of misappropriation of ISOPADEC funds is laughable as the former Deputy Governor was never the Chief Executive Officer of the oil commission and could not have been in charge of the commission’s funds.

“We consider it an insult and an attempt to reduce Imo State’s former Deputy Governor to the mere head of one of the many parastatals in the state.

“On the allegation of mismanaging RAMP funds, nothing could be more untrue. The former Deputy Governor never managed any such funds and has nothing whatsoever to do with it.

“On the allegation that the former Deputy Governor never returned his passport to EFCC, it is strange as Irona was never a guest of the EFCC and at no time did the anti-graft agency seize his passport.

“Gerald Irona is a responsible and patriotic, law-abiding Nigerian and will not waste a second in responding to any call or invitation from any constituted authority.

“In and out of office, Irona has lived a transparent, disciplined and decent lifestyle, worthy of emulation.

The sponsors of this report are political detractors envious of the rising profile of the darling former Deputy Governor of Imo State.

“While we consult our lawyers on a possible legal remedy for this brazen and irresponsible spread of outright falsehood, the general public is hereby advised to disregard the report in its entirety, as there is no iota of truth in it.

“It is on record that the brief administration of former Governor Emeka Ihedioha remains the most transparent, focused and result-driven administration Imo State has ever had.”

Modupe Gbadeyanka

Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

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