Enugu East senator, Chimaroke Nnamani, has denied reports that he stole $41.8 million from the coffers of the Enugu State government during his time as governor between 1999 and 2007.
Mr Nnamani described the reports as a ruse and fake news targeted at maligning him “because of his alternative views on the recent political development in the country.”
His comment was contained in a statement he signed on Tuesday.
The lawmaker was reacting to a report that said he looted $41.8 million during his days as Enugu State governor.
According to the report, a statement by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) revealed that he used the stolen funds to acquire luxury assets in Florida.
The FBI, in the statement, said Mr Nnamani’s official salary as governor at the time was $10,670 per year thereby unlikely he would possess an adequate source of legitimate income to account for the purchase of the real estate he acquired in Florida.
In his statement, Mr Nnamani who recently became vocal on social media – particularly against supporters of opposition parties – said the allegation was a campaign of calumny, intimidation, insults and abuse orchestrated to suppress and diminish his voice.
“However my voice will grow louder and more persistent,” he said. “I know my recent position will attract this attack by those who cannot tolerate alternative views. Democracy allows alternative viewpoints. If I cannot express my opinion and take a stand who will,” he said.
There was no such judgement anywhere, he maintained. He added that he left Enugu State on a solid foundation 15 years ago and no amount of mudslinging can rewrite the history.
He, therefore, urged Nigerians to ignore the report “sponsored by political foes and professional blackmailers.”
The senator, a member of the PDP, was recently named a member of the Presidential Campaign Council of the ruling All Progressives Congress – an announcement which generated controversy.
The APC has defended his inclusion in the Council. The party said while he may not be on the field with a PDP senatorial candidate in Enugu East, his presence is indicative that he may have chosen to give ‘moral support’ to his old-time friend and brother, Bola Tinubu.
Mr Nnamani is, however, yet to speak on his inclusion in the APC campaign council.