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Sanitary bucket scandal: LG staff, two others abscond over allegations of corruption

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BY SUNNY A. DAVID, AWKA

A scandal involving the alleged diversion of 1,300 sanitary buckets meant for the Anambra State Waste Management Agency (ASWAMA) has rocked Onitsha South Local Government Area, leading to the flee of a local government staff and two others.

Some people had been paddling information that the former Chairman of Onitsha South Local Government Area Chief Emeka Joseph Orji diverted those buckets meant for the residents.

Our correspondent gathered that those who paddled the information had flee the town after discovering that they collected N7millions to discredit the former Chairman of the council.

It was also gathered that among the fleeing persons include a staff of Onitsha South local government council, who is still under investigation by the Police.

The contractor handling the project said the three persons who made allegation were paid the sum of N7 millions by a politican fighting to replace Orji as Transition Committee Chairman.

According to the contractor, when they lost their bid as stakeholders of the All Progressives Grand Alliance APGA in the area to stop the renomination of Orji as one of the mandatory three aspirants for the job, they decided to make wild allegation against him.

However, Onitsha South Media, said those buckets were not diverted but were kept for safety on the mandate of the Contractor Menezes Int. Ltd. headed by the Managing Director and CEO of the firm Chief Sir Edwin Ukaora.

The contractor, Chief Ukora in a statement confirming the safe keeping of the buckets said:
“The attention of Menezes Int. ltd. has been drawn to a video and report alleging that the former Chairman of Onitsha South Local Government Area Chief Emeka Joseph Orji stocked Anambra state government sanitation buckets at his private residence in Onitsha.

“Against this backdrop, the management of Menezes Int Ltd wishes to state as follows.

“That the said allegations are not only false but unfounded as the property in question belongs to the Company.

“That the true position is that Menezes Int Ltd was contracted to supply sanitation buckets to the Anambra State government.

“By the time Anambra Waste Management Agency ASWAMA gave the contract to procure and distribute those sanitation buckets the firm had serious challenges of where to keep those buckets totaling 300 as first batch of the supply and later 1,000 buckets.

”Menezes had no option but to search for space, and it is on record that the company approached warehouses in Onitsha, and they charged her high cost of storage, which the company found too expensive to pay.

”On a second thought, Menezes Int Ltd approached the then Chairmen of Onitsha North and South local government areas, and they accepted to allow the firm to store those buckets under their custody.

“Onitsha North local government area had enough space to store some of the buckets while Onitsha South had no such space hence the Chairman Chief Emeka Joseph Orji offered his residence in Onitsha for the company to store those buckets at no cost at all.

“Consequent upon the above the Board and Management of Menezes Int ltd wish to state categorically that the said buckets is owned by the company and was not diverted by the former Chairman of Onitsha South local government area Chief Emeka Joseph Orji.

“That those buckets still bear the name of the company that supplied them, which is Menezes Int Ltd.

“The management sees those spurious allegations as a calculated attempt by some bunch of paid agents and rabble rousers to dent the image and reputation of Chief Emeka Joseph Orji.

“Meanwhile three suspects are said to be on the run following the intensed investigation over the matter and financial transactions have also been uncovered to the tune of N7 million allegedly paid to the blackmailers to pull Chief Emeka Joseph Orji down politically.

“The Management would make public the three suspects, which includes a staff of Onitsha South local government area who has been facing police interrogation over several allegations of obtaining under false pretenses and arson on public and private properties.

“The Management of Menezes Int Ltd wish to urge the general public to discountenance those reports as they misleading smacks of campaign of calumny targeted at the former Chairman of Onitsha South local government area.”

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