Contrary to reports making the rounds that immediate past Deputy Governor of Imo State, Engr. Gerald Irona was arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission-EFCC, Atlantic Reporters can independently confirm that there is no truth in the media report.
Impeccable sources within the anti-graft agency say the former Deputy Governor is not under any investigation by the Commission and was neither arrested nor invited by the Commission.
Meanwhile, a press statement by Communications Adviser to the former Deputy Governor, Dr. Walter Duru has described the report as malicious, without any iota of truth.
Below is the full statement, as issued by Dr. Walter Duru:
RE: EFCC ARRESTS EX-IMO DEPUTY GOVERNOR, GERALD IRONA:
YET ANOTHER PHANTOM REPORT
Our attention has been drawn to a malicious report on some online media platforms alleging that immediate past Deputy Governor of Imo State, Engr. Gerald Irona was arrested by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission-EFCC.
The report claimed that the former Deputy Governor was “intercepted at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja and taken to the EFCC headquarters for interrogation”.
The writer further alleged that the former Deputy Governor was involved in the collection of N400m monthly from the account of the Imo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission-ISOPADEC, during the administration of Chief Emeka Ihedioha; adding that the former Deputy Governor was also under investigation for allegedly mismanaging N5b counterpart funds for the Rural Access Mobility Project (RAMP). The report added that the former Deputy Governor did not return his passport to the EFCC after using it last year.
Ordinarily, one would not have bothered responding to the mindless falsehood, but to put the records straight, we respond thus:
The report is false in its entirety and has no iota of truth in it. Former Deputy Governor of Imo State, Hon. (Engr) Gerald Irona has no case with the EFCC.
The fact that the writer neither contacted the EFCC Spokesman nor the Spokesman of the former Deputy Governor for confirmation clearly shows the intention of the sponsors of the false report.
For the avoidance of doubt, immediate past deputy Governor of Imo State, Hon. (Engr.) Gerald Irona was neither invited nor arrested by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission-EFCC or any other Law Enforcement Agency in Nigeria.
The former Deputy Governor, Engr. Irona is not under any form of investigation whatsoever. He is relaxing in his residence and is not arrested, invited or wanted by any Law Enforcement Agency or any authority whatsoever, within and/or outside Nigeria.
The allegation of misappropriation of ISOPADEC funds is laughable, as the former Deputy Governor was never the Chief Executive Officer of the Oil Commission and could not have been in charge of the Commission’s funds.
We consider it an insult and an attempt to reduce Imo State’s former Deputy Governor to mere head of one of the many parastatals in the state.
On the allegation of mismanaging RAMP funds, nothing could be more untrue. The former Deputy Governor never managed any such funds and has nothing whatsoever to do with it.
On the allegation that the former Deputy Governor never returned his Passport to EFCC, it is strange, as Engr. Irona was never a guest of the EFCC and at no time did the anti-graft agency seize his passport.
Engr. Gerald Irona is a responsible and patriotic, law-abiding Nigerian and will not waste a second in responding to any call or invitation from any constituted authority.
In and out of office, Engr. Gerald Irona has lived a transparent, disciplined and decent lifestyle, worthy of emulation.
The sponsors of this report are political detractors envious of the rising profile of the darling former Deputy Governor of Imo State, Engr. Gerald Irona.
While we consult our lawyers on possible legal remedy for this brazen and irresponsible spread of outright falsehood, the general public is hereby advised to disregard the report in its entirety, as there is no iota of truth in it.
It is on record that the brief administration of former Governor Emeka Ihedioha remains the most transparent, focused and result-driven administration Imo State has ever had.
Walter Duru, Ph.D
Adviser, Communications to the former Deputy Governor of Imo State
Hon. (Engr.) Gerald Irona