Eyo O. Ekpo, former Attorney-General of Cross River State believes those peddling and widely reporting that the Ben Ayade administration plans to audit the Donald Duke and Liyel Imoke administrations, may have misquoted Joe Abang, current C’River Attorney-General, credited with the statement in the media.
Ekpo wrote on his Facebook page that, “… I was on the same flight with the Learned Attorney-General of Cross River State, from Lagos to Calabar. He never broached the topic with me and if I’d known of this alleged statement, I’d have discussed it with him. I do believe he was misquoted. He is a statutory member of the State Privatisation Council established by a law of the State and has access to the full details of EVERY single privatisation that the Council conducted.”
He went on to say that, “the Attorney-General, I am certain, knows that the State Enterprises Privatisation Law named only 6 or 7 CRSG-owned enterprises to be privatised – Calcemco, Metropolitan Hotels at Calabar, Ogoja and Ikom, the rubber and palm estates, Calvenply and the dairy/meat company at the Ranch. I think there was also a pharma company.”
“I was a statutory member of this Council, in my capacity as State Attorney-General, while it was chaired by Distinguished Senator Victor NDOMA-Egba and I can vouch solemnly and honourably that we adopted transparent, written processes for all transactions and followed them. This continued with the Council of which my worthy successor, ATTAH Ochinke, was a part. It is a fact that the Cross River State conducted a highly successful privatisation programme, certainly more so than that of the Federal Government. The likes of Unicem, Transcorp, Five Two Zero Hotels, Joranny Hotels, Wilmar-PZ and Farm Fresh berthed in Cross River State via the privatisation programme. The investments made by these companies worth billions of Naira/Dollars and employing thousands of Cross Riverians are plain to every eye. As the Attorney-General himself would say, “res ipsa loquitur”, the facts speak for themselves. Insider dealings are not hard to prove”, he insisted.
Continuing, ” the ownership of these mostly publicly-quoted companies is publicly-available. Insider dealing has a meaning that every lawyer knows and I’m sure the Attorney-General of Cross River State is no exception. This is why I am certain that he was misquoted, because he is not ignorant of these facts. He knows that neither Donald Duke nor Liyel Imoke or any of us who were members of the Privatisation Council are dominant shareholders or in control of any of these companies that bought and revived State assets year had all been moribund and non-operational for years before their privatisation.”
“So, while I believe that the Learned State Attorney-General would not be so indiscrete as to make such a patently wild and baseless statement, and he will shortly issues a well-worded disclaimer, let us also await evidence from those who wish to knock heads together in their desperation to divert us from paying attention to Cross River State’s issues of the day”, Eyo concluded.
Attempts to reach Joe Abang, C’River Attorney-General, were fruitless at press time.
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