The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, (SERAP) has called on the Acting Chairman of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), Dr. Muhammad Isah and the Acting Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, to “jointly investigate allegations of incompatibility, apparent conflict of interest situation, and abuse of office involving Governor Rochas Okorocha, of Imo State.
According to SERAP, this is in connection with the exercise of his public functions and leadership of the Rochas Okorocha Foundation, to collaborate with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), “in any such investigation.”
The organization said that “Such investigation would help to improve public confidence in public authorities, and minimize the risks of bad government by public officials.” In the petition dated 10 November 2017 and signed by SERAP executive director Adetokunbo Mumuni the organization expressed “serious concern that Governor Okorocha may have spent over N1billion of public funds to build statues of South African President Jacob Zuma and Liberian President Mrs Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.”
SERAP says, “the spending on statues and apparent misuse of public resources may have violated constitutional provisions and international standards on code of conduct for public officers. The initiatives cannot be justified under any circumstances whatsoever, especially at a time when Imo state is unable or unwilling to pay teachers’ salaries and pensioners’ entitlements.”
“SERAP believes that rather than serving the common interest of the public, spending over N1 billion possibly of public funds on Zuma and Johnson-Sirleaf in the context of their participation in the opening of the Rochas Okorocha Foundation would seem to put Governor Okorocha in a conflict of interest situation.”
“SERAP notes that the Nigerian Constitution 1999 (as amended) and UN Convention against Corruption to which Nigeria is a state party prohibit conflict of interests and set ethical standards for public officers. Indeed, both the Constitution and the Convention require public officers to abstain from all acts that may compromise the exercise of their public office and functions, or are inconsistent with their entrusted positions.”