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Published On: Fri, Feb 28th, 2020

Delta APC Chairman, Jones Erue In Trouble Over Alleged N230m Fraud


LAGOS FEBRUARY 28TH (URHOBOTODAY)-A five-man disciplinary committee set up by the State Working Committee of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Delta state, has indicted the chairman of the party, Prophet Jones Erue and recommended his removal from office.
The report obtained by BIGPEN on Thursday, claimed that the said Erue operated the accounts of Delta State APC as his personal accounts without thorough knowledge and consent of other co-signatories to the bank accounts and other SEC Members.

In the process, according to the report Erue who purportedly run the state chapter of the party as an ’emperor’, allegedly misappropriated over N230 million from the party’s account.
The committee which has Pastor Godwin Akpovie as Chairman, Hon. Leo Ebinim as Secretary, Prof. Festus Arunaye, Hon. David Yinka Atie and Hon. Lawrence Akpeti as members respectively, also alleged the disappearance of two buses donated to the Delta APC presidential aspirants since 2014 under Erue’s administration.
Under Erue’s leadership as state chairman, the total indebtedness of Delta State APC Secretariat as at January, 2020 stood at N4, 193,722.00, the document read.
The document, therefore accused the embattled chairman of “culpability of all the allegations of high handedness, breach of the party Constitution, misdemeanor activities leveled against him.
Subsequently, the committee, in accordance with Article 21(D) (1), subsection (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) (f) (g) (h) of APC Constitution (As amended), recommended his immediate removal from office as the state chairman of the party.
But when contacted, Erue dismissed all the allegations, saying that the panel is illegal, null and void abi ni tio. He, however, threatened to take legal action against the committee members over the allegation which he described as furious and libelous.
The report is reproduced in full below:
REPORT OF FIVE (5) MAN DISCIPLINARY COMMITTEE SET UP BY THE STATE WORKING COMMITTEE (SWC) OF ALL PROGRESSIVES CONGRESS (APC) DELTA STATE CHAPTER TO EXAMINE ALLEGATIONS OF GROSS MISCONDUCT ACTIVITIES LEVELED AGAINST THE STATE CHAIRMAN, PROPHET JONES ODE ERUE
In accordance with Article 21, section B, sub-section i of page 79 of the Constitution of All Progressives Congress (APC) (as amended) the State Working Committee of APC Delta State dully appointed and inaugurated a Five Man Disciplinary Committee to examine allegations of gross misconduct leveled against the State Chairman, Prophet Ode Erue.
The Committee’s Terms of Reference inter alia include the followings:
1. The legality of the currently annulled constitution of vacant Senatorial positions in APC Delta State by the State Chairman.
2. The legality of the currently annulled suspension of the Delta State Deputy Chairman (Engr. Elvis Ayomanor), Woman leader (Dr. Mrs Janet Oyubu), Delta South Senatorial Chairman (Mr. Tosa Awani) and 5 others for alleged misconduct.
3. To carry out a forensic audit on all Delta State APC Party account to determine probity and accountability in its management by the State Chairman, Prophet Ode Erue.
4. To investigate the reason for the State Secretariat being under lock and key administrative Staff and security men being owed 16 months of salary and wages.
5. To investigate the reason behind the none holding of State Executive Committee (SEC) and State Working Committee (SWC) meetings since March 2019.
6. To carry out an investigation into the disappearance of buses donated by Presidential aspirants and other party leaders to the party.
7. To investigate any possible collusion with other party officials in the running of the party account.
8. To determine the culpability of Prophet Jones Ode Erue and any other party official involved in any or all of the terms of reference above and to recommend appropriate sanctions if found wanting.
MODALITIES
On Tuesday 11th of February, 2020 shortly after the inauguration of the Five Man Disciplinary Committee at the State Secretariat Asaba, the Committee immediately held its maiden meeting at the State Secretariat, Asaba.
The Committee was mindful of the need to adhere strictly to the principles of fair hearing as enshrined in the Constitution of APC. In the pursuit of the cardinal objective of according Prophet Jones Ode Erue fair hearing, the Committee made painstaking enquiries as to the address of the residential home of Prophet Jones Ode Erue in Delta State, so as to personally serve him invitation to appear before the Committee to state his own side of the story. But sadly he has no known RESIDENTIAL address in any part of Delta State.
The only known RESIDENTIAL address of Prophet Jones Ode Erue is somewhere in Woko street, off St John’s Ogbogoro Road, Rumuolumeni, Port-Harcourt in Rivers State. In view of this difficulty, the Committee had no option than to resort to modern day generally acceptable means of communication to wit:
1. The Committee through her Secretary sent SMS to his mobile phone number: 08033153826 and same was delivered
2. The committee also through her Secretary sent chat to his WhatsApp account number 08033153826 and same was also delivered ; and
3. A notice inviting Prophet Jones Ode Erue to appear before the Committee between 14th to 18th of February, 2020 was published at page 38 of Vanguard Newspaper of Saturday,15th February,2020. See attached.
Courier Service (DHL) see attached.
Despite the fact that Prophet Jones Ode Erue was aware of the Five Man Disciplinary Committee, he willfully failed, neglected and refused to appear before the Committee to defend the allegations made against him.
Determined to accord Prophet Jones Ode Erue fair hearing, the Committee on 19th day of February, 2020 again sent Hearing Notice to Prophet Jones Ode Erue via SMS and WhatsApp to his mobile phone notifying him of the Committee hearing of the allegations against him on 22/2/2020 at APC State Secretariat, Asaba at 10:00am and again Prophet Jones Ode Erue failed to appear before the Committee.
The Committee sat on 11/2/2020, 14/2/2020, 16/2/2020, 18/2/2020, 20/2/2020 and 22/2/2020. During these sittings, the Committee met with notable Leaders/Elders and other Members of APC in Delta State and received evidence from them.
On Terms of Reference investigation
On Sunday 23rd February 2020 the Committee sat and evaluated both oral and documentary evidence before it thus:
1 FILLINGS OF VACANT POSITIONS IN DELTA STATE EXCO
The Five Man Disciplinary Committee findings revealed that indeed some vacant positions exist in the Delta State Exco and the State Chairman, Prophet Jones Ode Erue without consulting members of the State Working Committee unilaterally appointed some persons into the vacant positions. Without recourse to the wards, for nomination and presentation to the LG Executives, that will in turn submit such names to the state working committee for ratification.The Committee is of the firm view that this action by Prophet Jones Ode Erue was wrong and unconstitutional and it offends the Provisions of Article 20 (i) (a) page 74 of the APC Constitution which provides that all party posts shall be filled by democratically conducted elections or consensus.
2 THE UNILATERAL SUSPENSION OF SOME MEMBERS OF THE STATE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE AND SOME L.G.A EXCO
The Committee also found out that Prophet Ode Erue without convening either a meeting of the State working Committee or the State Executive Committee unilaterally suspended the Delta State Deputy Chairman (Engr. Elvis Ayomanor), State Woman leader (Dr. Mrs Janet Oyubu), Delta South Senatorial Chairman (Mr. Tosan Awani) and 5 others for alleged misconduct. This action by Prophet Jones Ode Erue is not only unconstitutional, but it is against the Principles of fair hearing as enshrined in APC Constitution. The State Secretary of APC Mr. Chidi Okonji and his Assistant, Barr Ese Agiri who are the persons empowered by APC Constitution to issue Notices of Meetings of State Working Committee and State Executive Committee testified before the Five Man Committee that meetings was held where decision to annul the purported suspension of some members of the State and LGA Exco members was taken.
3. THE BANK ACCOUNTS/FINANCES OF DELTA STATE APC
The Committee discovered that there was no probity and accountability in the running of the Finances of Delta State APC by Prophet Jones Ode Erue. He operated the accounts of Delta State APC as his personal accounts without thorough knowledge and consent of other co-signatories to the bank accounts and other SEC Members. Over N230m was misappropriated by him. See attached
4. DELTA STATE APC SECRETARIAT UNDER LOCK AND KEY AND ADMINISTRATIVE STAFF OWED OVER 16 MONTHS SALARIES
It is the Committee findings that the Delta State APC Secretariat Asaba has been under lock and keys and over grown weeds, torn party flags and as a result it was sealed up by Delta State Ministry of Environment and the State Chairman. See attached Notice from the State Ministry.
Prophet Jones Ode Erue did nothing to remedy the situation. Also, the Committee found out that despite huge funds arising from sales of Nominations Forms and Development Levies paid by Aspirants in the 2018/2019 Party primaries and other donations made to the party, Prophet Jones Ode Erue willfully refused to pay Staff their salaries ranging from 10 months to18 months, as well as non-payment of other utility bills at the State Secretariat.
Below is a breakdown of unpaid salaries/office expenses:
i) Dunkwu Paul (Admin officer) is being owed 16 months salary at the rate of N60,000.00 per month, totaling N960,000.00
ii) Mrs. Awilli Ujomu (Accountant) is being owed 18 months salary at the rate of N50,000.00 per month making a total of N900,000.00
iii) Regards Henry (Office Assistant) is being owed 16 months salary at the rate of N20,000.00 per month making a total of N320,000.00
iv) Comfort Isitue (Cleaner) is being owed 16 months salary at the rate N20,000.00 per month making a total of N320,000.00
v) Onyemai Patricia (Cleaner) is being owed 16 months at the rate of N20,000.00 per month making a total of N320,000.00
vi) Two (2) Security Guards are being owed10 months at the rate of N25,000.00 each per month making a total of N500,000.00
vii) NEPA Bills : N473,722.00 is being owed power company
viii) Office Imprest: N40,000.00 per month. 10 months unpaid making a total of N400,00.00
The total indebtedness of Delta State APC Secretariat as at January, 2020 is N4,193,722.00.
5. FAILURE/REFUSAL TO CONVENE STATE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE AND STATE WORKING COMMITTEE MEETINGS SINCE MARCH, 2019.
The Committee findings revealed that Prophet Jones Ode Erue as the State Chairman of APC in Delta State failed in his responsibility to convene State Executive Committee and State working Committee meetings since after the general elections in March 2019. More worrisome is the failure/refusal of the State Chairman to convene meetings of the State working committee since March 2019. By the provisions of Article 13 (13)(B) at page 50 of the APC Constitution (as amended) the State Working Committee is saddled with the responsibility of carrying out the day – to – day running of the affairs of the party.
Regrettably the Committee found out that Prophet Jones Ode Erue has been running APC Delta State as an EMPEROR since March, 2019 without recourse to Members of the State Working Committee.
It is worthy to note that six (6) days after the Five Man Disciplinary Committee was inaugurated, activities at the State Secretariat in Asaba suddenly jacked up, though he blatantly refused to honour our invite.
6. DISAPPEARANCE OF BUSES DONATED BY PRESIDENTIAL ASPIRANTS
Oral testimonies before the Committee during her sittings indicated that in 2014 two (2) buses were donated to Delta APC by Presidential Aspirants and were dully handed over to Prophet Jones Ode Erue who has been the State Chairman. From that very moment, he converted them to his personal property. In other words, the buses were never seen since 2014 after they were handed over to Prophet Jones Ode Erue.
7. PROPHET JONES ERUE ODE COLLUDING WITH OTHER PARTY OFFICIALS IN THE RUNNINGS OF THE PARTY ACCOUNTS
As at the time of writing this report the Committee could not ascertain any collusion by any party official with Prophet Jones Ode Erue in the running of the party’s account due to non-availability of some sensitive documents which the committee could not lay hands on.
8. CULPABILITY OF PROPHET JONES ODE ERUE OF THE ALLEGATIONS MADE AGAINST HIM
From the foregoing; and the reasons already highlighted above, Prophet Jones Ode Erue is culpable of all the allegations of high handedness, breach of the party Constitution, misdemeanor activities leveled against him.
RECOMMENDATION
Having perused all the documents and evaluated the evidence before the Committee, the Five Man Committee hereby recommend that, in accordance with Article 21(D) (1) at page 85 of APC Constitution (As amended).
The Committee is disposed to recommend Article 21, Section D, subsection (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) (f) (g) (h).
On terms of reference number one, the conduct of Prophet Jones Ode Erue is undemocratic and breach of the party Constitution. The Committee recommends his immediate removal from office as the State Chairman of APC Delta State.
On terms of reference number two, the conduct of Prophet Jones Ode Erue is undemocratic and breach of the party Constitution. The Committee recommends his immediate removal from office as the State Chairman of APC Delta State.
With regard to terms of reference number three, his conduct lacks probity and accountability. Therefore the Committee recommends that the State Working Committee should take lawful steps to recover all Party’s money misappropriated by him.
The Committee recommends that the SWC should take immediate steps to pay all outstanding salaries of staff to save the Party’s image.
On terms of reference number five, the conduct of Prophet Jones Ode Erue is a serious breach of the Party’s Constitution. Hence we recommend his immediate removal from office as the State Chairman.
On terms of reference number six, the Committee recommends that SWC should take every lawful step to ensure the recovery of two buses within 14 days.
On terms of reference number seven, the Committee could not trace or find any Party official culpable.
Prophet Jones Ode Erue should be immediately removed from office as the State Chairman of Delta state APC
Signed:
1. Pastor Godwin Akpovie – Chairman……………………………………….
2. Hon. Leo Ebinim – Secretary…………………………………….
3. Prof. Festus Arunaye – Member……………………………………….
4. Hon. David Yinka Atie – Member……………………………………….
5. Hon. Lawrence Akpeti – Member……………………………………….
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