Councillors accuse council chairman of ‘stealing’ power generator

Councillors accuse council chairman of ‘stealing’ power generator

Some councillors in Akwa Ibom State have accused their council chairman of conniving with people to “secretly auction” a power generator belonging to the local council.

The accusation against the Chairman of Mkpat Enin Local Government Area, Aniekpon Ekpo, is being investigated by the Akwa Ibom House of Assembly, based on a petition signed by 10 out of the 14 councillors from the area.

Besides theft, the councillors accused Mr Ekpo of financial misappropriation and abuse of office.

The councillors, in their petition, addressed to the Speaker of the Akwa Ibom Assembly, Aniekan Bassey, demanded the suspension of the chairman from office while he is being investigated.

“The Chairman connived secretly to auction a sound-proof generating set belonging to the local government without any notice or due process,” the councillors said in the petition.

“This act can be interpreted to mean stealing the local government asset,” they said.

The councillors said some youth from the area stopped a truck from carting the power generator away.

“The local government grader was carried out of the secretariat complex to Uyo and according to the chairman, it is for repairs. This is going to several months now, the grader is still not brought back,” they said.

Mr Ekpo was elected chairman of Mkpat Enin council in December 2020 under the Peoples Democratic Party.

Since he became chairman, he has not accounted for the council’s internally generated revenue (IGR), the councillors said.

“For the record, Mkpat Enin makes an average IGR of N2 million monthly and this has never (been) reflected in the local government account,” the councillors said, while also accusing the chairman of being unable to tackle the insecurity in the local government area.

When PREMIUM TIMES contacted the chairman, he said he was yet to receive the details of the petition.

“I am yet to receive the details of the petition, (I) will communicate my response afterwards,” he said.

Assembly commences investigative hearing

The Akwa Ibom Assembly has commenced an investigative hearing on the petition by the councillors.

Mark Esset, chairman, House Committee on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, confirmed this in a press release.

During the first hearing on October 18, all the councillors who signed the petition, reaffirmed their stand before the committee.

Proceedings were, however, stalled because of Mr Ekpo’s claim that he was not served a copy of the petition.

Mr Ekpo, who was later served a copy of the petition, was requested by the committee to provide a written reply before October 20, while the hearing was adjourned to October 22.

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