SAN FRANCISCO, July 21, (THEWILL) – The constituents of the former deputy majority leader and member representing Isoko Federal constituency in the House of Representatives, Leo Okuweh Ogor, in Isoko, Delta State, have called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to probe allegations of misappropriation of constituency project funds against Ogor.
Ogor has been accused of squandering the constituency project fund approved by the Federal Government, prior to the 2015 general elections, to empower his constituents.
Local sources disclosed that the constituency empowerment project items delivered to Ogor from the coffers of the federal government included 200 motorcycles, sewing machines, generators, deep freezers, hair dryers and four buses, among others, but the items which were said to have been delivered to the lawmaker before the 2015 general elections for full distribution to the optimal benefit of the people of Isoko nation have been kept in Ogor’s country home in Ozoro, Isoko North local government area of the state.
Ogor, it was alleged, after several months of taking delivery of the items, claimed to have bought the items from his private pocket and was said to have distributed only 96 motorcycles, one bus and few other items to commemorate the 56th birthday celebration of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta state which was celebrated on July, 8, 2015.
Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Fiscal Transparency and Accountability Initiative, Abuja, Chief Charles Edo, alleged that Ogor diverted the funds and claimed that the money was from his private pocket.
According to Edo, the funds were approved by the past administration of President Goodluck Jonathan through the National Commission for Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons for House members to empower their constituents but Ogor allegedly cornered the money and only got some few items which he disbursed to friends and cronies.
He accused Ogor of allegedly diverting about 200 motorcycles and four buses meant as constituency items to the people of Isoko federal constituency.
Edo, in a statement made available to THEWILL, reiterated that the constituency items were provided for “In the 2014 budget of the National Commission for Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons and expect the full implementation of the project to the optimal benefit of the people of Isoko nation.”
The statement said: “This is coming against the backdrop of the distribution of only 100 motorcycles and one bus by the Rep. member at his country home in Ozoro, Isoko North local government area of Delta State to celebrate the 56th birthday celebration of the Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa.”
Edo however called on President Muhammadu Buhari to set up a probe panel to investigate the utilisation and implementation of the constituency projects by members of the National Assembly which has been subject to abuse and most times ended in their private pockets.
A constituent, who simply identified himself as James Okiemute, also told THEWILL that from their own investigations, the federal lawmaker allegedly duped the constituents and therefore called on EFCC and others anti-graft agencies to probe the issue.
” Our investigations also revealed that one of his private companies fronting for Leo Ogor which goes by the name, Racen Integrated Services Limited, was used to supply the four buses out of which he only gave out just only one. The National Commission for Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons awarded the contract to the company.
“These items were from the coffers of the federal government as part of constituency projects and we are beginning to wonder why Leo Ogor was going about saying they were bought with his own money to empower his constituents. In his years at the National Assembly,all contracts in the constituency were handled by his private companies and has continued to use his brothers, relations, cronies and political stooges to front”, he alleged.
Another constituent who gave his name as Oruaroghene accused Ogor of cornering the light, road and other contracts brought to the constituency to himself alleging that he (Ogor) has always shortchanged the people when it comes to empowerment of constituents.
“We have been made to understand that apart from defrauding us the constituents, Leo Ogor did not supply to specification some of the items especially the motorcycles. The specification for the motorcycles was not ladies machines which he distributed and claimed were bought by his personal money.
“We are therefore calling on EFCC and ICPC to commence a probe on this man without any delay. We just hope this time around the anti-graft agency must do something unlike before when he was untouchable,” Oruaroghene said.
While distributing the items,Ogor had said: “Instead of wasting money on newspapers adverts to celebrate the 56th birthday of the Governor of Delta State, Senator Dr. Arthur Ifeanyi Okowa, I have decided to use the funds to empower my constituents. The governor in his wisdom had earlier advised us his political associates, family and supporters to use such funds to develop our various constituents.”