The Immediate past Chairman of Uyo Local Government Council, Elder Imoh Okon is currently cooling his feet in Police cell at the ‘A’ Division Police Station, Barracks Road over the sum of N420,000.00 (Four Hundred and Twenty Thousand Naira) allegedly withdrawn fraudulently by the Ex-Chairman from a secret Internally Generated Revenue account of the Council said to have been opened by him, report said.
According to reliable sources, Okon is said to have left office with cheque books of the Council without the knowledge of his successor and has been using same to run a secret IGR account not known to the Council even after leaving office.
One of the sources who pleaded anonimity revealed that the embattled former Chairman, an Elder of United Evangelical Church, allegedly made cash withdrawals to the tune of Four Hundred and Twenty Thousand Naira (N420,000), from the said bank account between January and March 2021, less than four months after exiting office in December 2020.
“When he was Chairman, he opened a special account for Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) without the knowledge of the Council and did not include it in the handover note to his successor. So even after he left office, he was still making withdrawals using a cheque book. First, he withdrew One Hundred Thousand (N100, 000) and later on, he withdrew Three Hundred and Twenty Thousand (N320, 000)”, the source disclosed.
This paper learnt that trouble began for the former Chairman when he was nabbed by the Police in March 2021 and taken to his house for thorough search for the cheque books and other Council properties following complaints lodged by the current Chairman, Hon. Uwemedimo Udo.
He was however later released after much pleadings on the premise that he would refund the withdrawn sum in a months time, while the Councilor representating Ward 10 in Uyo LGA (Imoh Okon’s ward) stood as surety for him.
According to report, Imoh Okon could not refund the stolen money after the one month given to him and he was no where to be found. Consequently, the Councilor, Obong Williams who signed the surety was arrested, following the former Council Chairman’s failure to make refunds as agreed.
“So the current Chairman (Hon. Uwemedimo Udo) effected his (Imoh Okon’s) arrest, after noticing those illegal withdrawals. That was ending of March 2021. He was there at the Police Station until the current Councillor representing him signed a surety for his release on the premise that he (Imoh Okon) would refund the money. But after his failure to refund the withdrawn monies (N420,000) on the fixed date, the Police arrested the Councillor who stood as a surety. But he (the Councillor) was released last week through the efforts of his colleagues who loaned part of the money to pay for his release, the source said.
But in a fresh twist, TheMail can confirm that the former Chairman, Hon. Imoh Okon was on Friday, May 21, 2021, rearrested by the Police and is currently being detained at the Police ‘A’ Division’, Barracks Road, Uyo as he was unable to balance the remaining part of the money.
When contacted on phone on Friday evening, incumbent Chairman of Uyo Local Government Council, Hon. Uwemedimo Udo told our reporter that he was not aware of the arrest.
“I don’t work with the Police. I am yet to be briefed. When I am briefed, I’ll let you know”, he said.
On his part, the Councilor representating Ward 10, Uyo LGA, Hon. Obong William, acknowledged meeting Hon. Imoh Okon at the Police Station.
“I was invited to the Police Station by one of my Ward Officers and when I got there, I met with Hon. Imoh Okon”, he said.
When also quizzed, the Police Public Relations Officer, Akwa Ibom State Police Command, SP Odiko Macdon also claimed he was yet to be briefed on the matter.
It could be recalled that while still in office as the Chairman of Uyo Local Government Council, Imoh Okon was suspended by the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly over alleged Gross Misconduct.