wpid-Krones-Apr12-Fig5-480x319.jpgBy Owen Ozue

President Goodluck Jonathan ignored a stern warning from an informed whistle blower, an Anambra State indigene, from his party who was a member of the House of Representatives (HOR) not to personally enmesh himself and the presidency in the official corruption, when in August 2012, he personally commissioned a brewery in Onitsha built with Anambra State funds and yet the state is a minority shareholder in it.
SABmiller Breweries, enjoying every aristocratic advantage offered by a government cornered by private interests are makers of Hero beer,Castle Stout, Grand Malt etc.
Those who wished to defend the presidency with growing tolerance level for corruption claimed that the alarm came late for the president to extricate himself from the plans he had made in advance. Those opposed to it said the dividing line remained the attitude of the highest office in the land to those stealing money under their watch.
Gladly, both divides agree that Anambra State, as an entity is the highest contributor in the SABmiller Breweries project, and yet the least shareholder in the brewery project, indicating that something has gone amiss.
This consensus is not injured by the fact that three different figures have been quoted to summarise contributions from Anambra State Government coffers to the company which after acquiring substantial portion of land? belonging to Universal Steels at Bridgehead? Onitsha, by force, falsely? invoking the Land Use Act?s ?overriding public interest?.
Gov Peter Obi said then that the investment of Anambra State in the brewery stands ?in excess of 20 billion?. The slick businessman turned governor probably said that to avoid coinciding with the same figures quoted by Hon. Chuddy Offodile, the whistle blower in this project roughly two years ago.
But Offodile went to a High Court in Abuja to place the matter in court before Justice M I Mohammed seeking that Anambra?s minority shares should be re-converted to majority. Offodile summed up that the ?diverted? amount at N5billion and went ahead to analyse how Anambra was short-changed, before asking the court to reverse the fraudulent action which clearly benefits Peter Obi and Igwe Alfred Achebe.
Last Saturday at the Women Development Centre Awka, Gov Peter Obi put the figure invested in Intafact Brewery at N3.5 billion. He had the hall populated by high-profile personalities who could not go into the nitty-gritty of the figures, at least on that occasion.
With a consensus that Anambra had been cheated of its funds and given a minority share and three sets of figures on the transaction, and Anambra State House of Assembly out-living the out-going executie, Anambra State cannot avoid a thorough investigation these matters. But ahead of that even if the least amount-in excess of N2billion eventually prevails, which in the circumstance equals N3.5 billion, the least precise amount, this amount is unarguably dwarfs the N26 million stake brought in by other partners in the business.
So who is stealing Anambra State blind if not Peter Obi?
For the avoidance of doubt, this Intafact Breweries that owns Sabmiller Breweries wholly is the product of the Union of Interests between three corporate concerns, Next International, Sabmiller African and Anambra State, with splinters going to the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfed Achebe, who is the chairman. Next International is fully owned by Peter Gregory Obi and is also the owner of two big Shopping Malls in Abuja, built the same way, with Anambra State funds.
Many see the move by Peter Obi to make a public show of the stealing of Anambra funds as enveloped in the political funfare over the airwaves at the weekend as a bold faced attempt to cover bare-faced robbery?
But the SABmiller Breweries does not stand alone in this white-eyed affair.
Obi listed investments of N25bn of Anambra State money, among them the N3.5bn given out to a Beverage company owned by Gov Peter Obi, with then share to Igwe Alfred Achebe, Obi Onitsha as Chairman. The Awa Shopping Mall, Onitsha Shopping Mall, Agulu Lake and so many other ?investments?. Analysts whose see beyond the surface cleverness of the out-going governors, aspiring to be the Minister of Education, see an attempt to also mask his private interests in all the shopping malls and Projects listed under the N25billion investment, with the greatest emotional attachment to Ikenga Hotels (site of what he calls Awka Shopping Mall) which the Obi government accused Andy Uba of selling within 17 days of his tenure as a governor, without any proof.
Awka Onitsha Malls and the ?home? investment form part of the particulars and cushion in a decoy retirement plan for Mr Peter Obi, who in reality is restlessly lobbying to become a minister and taking his selected Anambra accomplices, including his business partner, Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Achebe to Abuja to lobby the president, as his wife leads Anambra women in uniform to lobby the president?s wife.
What a pity. Anambra money is stolen in broad daylight Anambra sons in high places, soaked in ignorance or acquiescence are raising their hands to clap, but for how long?
Well at least Obi has made things easy by admitting to an audience that little acknowledged it that he stole Anambra funds. And not even a hand-picked rigged in potential helmsman can cover up this pregnancy as it grows.
Amazingly the cr?me de la cr?me in Anambra State, knowing what Governor Obi package din Awka at the weekend to be caliberated lies are looking sideways for those to speak while those of them who should guard the truth n society ?the churches- revelling in their billions of Naira from an administration that started on the false impression of frugality and is ending today as the most wasteful raw cash distributors in the history of Anambra State. Do not even mention the traditional rulers, or the few masqueraders that pass for Non-governmental organisations (NGO ) in the state. Do not worry about the opposition political parties they are still on break from the rigging conquest that became the lot of a subdued Anambra electorate, who thought it was their natural right to vote.
I have mentioned the House of Assembly in passing, but I shall return to them, if nothing else to convince myself that all elements of conscience, checks and balances in Anambra State stand threatened while the goat delivers in tethers.
At least the cash dole-outs are doing the magic. But, for how long? The true story of Obis stewardship will be written long after he would have left office.
Thanks Goodness, Obi? managed to leave some money at all, after the eleventh-hour feverish cash spray on individuals, private companies,federal and state government agencies, schools? and churches ,as well as last-minute projects hurriedly commenced ,in a way that those who discern political moves can only tie to what he expects in future. Nothing can be truer for a government that claimed the opposite at inception-frugality.
What this tells us is that whoever mounts the saddle in Anambra State from March 17, 2014 should shepherd the state?s N111.5 billion very well without stories.

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