The Imo State Deputy Governor, Chief Jude Agbaso has denied the allegation by the state House of Assembly that he took bribe from a contractor to award him contract.
Agbaso whom the House is threatening with impeachment said during the weekend in Imo State that he never had any encounter with the contractor or collected any money from him.
He rather said that he knew why the Governor, Chief Rochas Okorocha wanted him out of the way. His claim was that the fight targeted at him was all about the 2015 gubernatorial race in the state.
“The truth is that I am a victim of power play between two powerful political figures. I heard that there was an agreement reached between my elder brother, Chief Martin Agbaso that the governor should be in office for one tenure and give way for him to contest. It is possible the agreement is about to be breached and the best they want to make sure I am out of the office at all costs.”
He denied every allegation of wrong-doing and also challenged the House to confront him with evidence of the bribe allegation. Agbaso also said the rumour of his resignation was unfounded as he never contemplated resigning and was still in his office and with all official paraphernalia.
While addressing journalists, he said after the long battle and political gaming, “I feel it a duty to address formally the good people of Imo State who gave me their mandate a litle less than two years ago to be their deputy governor and set the records straight that all the allegations of wrong-doing against me that have been the issue for some time are completely false and unfounded. I have kept quiet all along but felt it is time to state my side of the story so that all that people hear about me would not be taken as true.
“I am not the governor and do not award contracts and there is no way bribe for contract award should be channeled to me.” Agbaso also said that even after the contractor, as he heard, was quizzed on the allegation that he denied any involvement with him or did give him money as inducement to win a contract.
“The facts are there to exonerate me of any charges being brought up now. If the House wants to impeach me, it should do it in a tidy way and not trump up vain claims and charges. I know that the House has possibly made up their mind to get me out of the way but the world should know that it is politics and I did no wrong or took any bribe.”
Meanwhile, Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr. Chinedu Offor, has denied that Agbaso had resigned. In a statement issued yesterday, Offor said, “the attention of the Imo State Government has been drawn to gross inaccuracies and outright lies by some section of the media about recent events as it concerns the ongoing investigation of corruption levelled against the Deputy Governor, Sir Jude Agbaso by a Lebanese contractor J-Pros.
“I wish to state that contrary to reports in the media, the deputy governor continues to carry out the responsibilities of his office and in fact, joined Governor Okorocha on inspection of projects around the state on Friday, when speculations were rife that he has been impeached or that his office has been sealed off.
“These deliberate attempts by some paid agents masquerading as media practitioners speak volumes of the level of desperation of some forces to overheat the polity and drag Governor Okorocha into what is essentially an attempt by the IMHA to determine the veracity of an allegation made against a senior government official in line with Governor Okorocha’s agenda of zero tolerance for corruption.
“In fact, at the invitation of Sir Jude, Governor Okorocha has severally postponed his planned trip to wade into the matter with a view of finding out the truth through a process that is fair, lawful and constitutional. It is, therefore, mischievous and unprofessional for some section of the media to accuse Governor Okorocha of being behind the travails of the deputy governor.
It is a known fact that Governor Okorocha lacks the powers to interfere in the constitutional duties of the IMHA and should not be linked to the ongoing investigation. Governor Okorocha’s interest remains to ensure Sir Jude gets the opportunity to prove his innocence. This is consistent with the zero tolerance policy on corruption of the Rescue Mission administration,” Offor said.