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C’River Assembly vows to stop, revoke concessioned industries under Ayade – Speaker Ayambem

By Our Reporter

Based on investigations into deals and agreements under the immediate past Governor of Cross River State, Prof. Ben Ayade, the Speaker of Cross River State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Elvert Ayambem, has disclosed that the State Assembly has vowed to stop and revoke deals on concessioned industries.

This move and action is as a probe ignited into the Ayade-led administration, which Ayambem said the State Assembly is poised and dogged in ensuring every wrong and illegal approach to executing contracts, concessions, and spending of public funds.

He also disclosed that Ayade’s successor, Senator Bassey Otu is not finding things smooth due to the indebtedness of the State as handed over to him by Ayade.

He said: “The loans that the previous administration acquired have relatively placed us on edge right now. You can’t quantify it because it is much and it is heavy, which is relatively placing the House on an edge.

“We understand that the Governor is going through a lot because of the loans. That is our worry too. I wish the governor we have today came and met a sizable loan that he can repay, it would have helped a great deal. You know he is trying to finish the Airport, that International Cargo Airport in Obudu.

“There is one thing I like so much about the Governor. Do you know as much as most of these projects were done by the previous government, he picks those ones that he knows, these ones are realistic?

“He embarks on them. What is he projecting, continuity? And me too, I went and met him to say, Sir, it’s not every of these projects that were left behind by the former Governor, that you should give a listening ear to.

“And we discovered lately that almost all those ones that are viable were concessioned two days before leaving the office. And who are those people that these projects were concessioned to, you realize that it’s friends and family. But all of them are concessioned to one person. You bring this one, he would say the name of the company is this, this other one the name of the company is this.

“Meanwhile, you have 90 per cent ownership in those companies. I can tell you that in all of these projects you hear about concessioning, no dime was paid into Cross River State Government coffers. Not one dime. Prove me anywhere, not one dime was deposited into the Cross River State account.”

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Meanwhile, according to the Speaker, despite Cross River State Government having 30 per cent shares in Transcorp (Metropolitan) Hotel but no trace of anything paid into the State’s coffers.

“Okay, look at Transcorp, Cross River State Government has 30 per cent shares in Transcorp (Metropolitan) Hotel and right now I think my members are on it. The last time they had a meeting with Transcorp, where they interfaced with the management of Transcorp, they could not account for a dime that was paid to Cross River State Government coffers.

“They could not, and now we are hearing they sold it outrightly. Okay if you have sold it outrightly, where is the position of Cross River State Government, the 30 per cent shared that Cross River State government had, was there any seeding off of a dime to its coffers at any time?

“Look at the Garment Factory, the Ogoja Rice Mill and all of that, all of those industries have been concessioned but there is no document anywhere that shows that a dime was deposited into Cross River State Government coffers. Not a dime,” he said.

He still maintained that, “There is a whole lot we are doing to fix the problem. For the moment we are taking it gradually but let me give you an inside of it, we have taken down the total numbers of these infrastructures and industries that were concessioned in the previous administration.

“And we are taking them one after the other. At the end of the day, we will revoke all of that nonsense done that they call concession.

“Take it from me, we will revoke all. We will because you cannot concession any state government infrastructure and don’t deposit a dime into the state government’s coffers. It is not done anywhere in the world.

“You will see faceless people telling you, I am the concessionaire, I don’t understand, when you trace it and go in-depth, you are alarmed with what you would see.

“People would say, ‘he is on vendetta’. No. No person is on any personal vendetta.”

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