Delta State Accountant-General Absconds

From mere speculation came an official confirmation that one week to transfer of power from the outgoing administration of Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan of Delta State to his successor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, the government has been rendered prostrate. This was due to the sudden disappearance of the state Accountant-General, Cyril Agbele, and his lieutenants from their duty posts, to frustrate the outgoing government’s access to the funds of the state until a new administration takes over.

Until this Thursday, May 28, it had been in the realm of speculation discussed in hushed tone that Agbele and his subordinates had absconded. But playing host to the College of Permanent Secretaries and Association of Retired Heads of Service and Permanent Secretaries who paid him a farewell visit this Thursday, the governor opened up on the development.

Agbele, who was supposed to be part of the group as a permanent secretary cum accountant-general, was conspicuously absent. Underscoring the role of permanent secretaries in the running of government, Uduaghan stated that the role of a permanent secretary also includes being bold enough to tell your boss “no, I cannot do this” when asked to do something he did not believe in.

He said he said this because one of their colleagues who was supposed to be at the meeting, the accountant general, was not present because he had disappeared in the last five or six days.

Uduaghan wondered why Agbele decided to disappear instead of expressing his mind on what he felt was not right but chose to ground the government in its last days. On the backlash of Agbele’s action, the governor said the security agencies keeping surveillance at the troubled Kokori community pulled out because they could not be paid their allowances and he had to call them back.

Investigation by the magazine revealed that when the accountant-general became incommunicado, an attempt was made to get his deputy, one Mrs Enwa, to step in but she too disappeared—and even the next person to her—lending credence to the conspiracy theory. Speculations were rife that Agbele and his lieutenants were acting out a script by the incoming administration.

The magazine gathered that the governor reportedly called Okowa but he denied knowledge of what was happening. Former governor of the state, James Ibori, was also reported to have stepped into the matter but to no avail. A close associate of the governor-elect told the magazine that Okowa said he would direct the head of service to issue Agbele a query “so that the man will explain why he did what he did.”

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