Labour Party treasurer, Oluchi Oparah seeks probe of N3.5b party funds

Crisis in Labour Party deepens as the National Treasurer of the party, Ms. Oluchi Oparah called for investigation into the management of the N3.5 billion raked in by the party from the sales of forms and other fundraising activities during the 2023 general election.
She made the demand at a news conference in Abuja yesterday.

The National officer claimed at news conference that she was not being allowed to carry out her assignment of managing the party’s finances as treasurer.

She alleged that the National Chairman of the party, Mr. Julius Abure has not taken comprehensive steps to facilitate an audit of the party’s financial records since the conclusion of the sales of nomination and expression of interests before last year’s elections.

The Lamidi Apapa-led group had also alleged infractions in the party under Abure’s leadership.

The National Publicity Secretary of the Apapa-led group, Abayomi Arabambi, claimed that the funds raised during the 2023 general election were diverted for personal use.

But the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Obiora Ifoh, said Abure did no wrong.

The treasure told reporters yesterday: “I stand before you today with a heavy heart and a sense of duty to the principles of transparency, accountability, and justice.

“As national treasurer, I am constrained to come before you and the public today because the internal mechanisms of our party have failed woefully to bring Mr. Abure to account for his brazen abuse of office…

“His appetite for power has grown unchecked and he has deliberately undermined my duties and authority as stipulated in the party’s constitution.”

Responding, Ifoh denied that the LP earned N3.5 billion, saying that its national chairman, Abure did not embezzle any money belonging to the party.

In a statement yesterday, the LP spokesman said: “The attention of the leadership of the party has been drawn to a news conference by our National Treasurer, Ms. Oluchi Opara, where she raised a number of allegations against the National Chairman, Barrister Julius Abure bothering more on corruption and abuse of office.

“We want to say that the National Treasurer who is certainly under some external influences merely read out a concocted statement drafted by our detractors to further tar the image of the party.

“With the exception of the national treasurer, whose tenure is about to end in few weeks’ time, and who has served for eight years without a single record of party accounts, no other member of the national working committee has raised any issue of embezzlement against our national chairman, who made a pledge on assumption that the party has to be revamped.

“Evidence is our proactive outing in the 2023 general election as the party presented for the first time a very good presidential candidate.

“Let it be said that the LP has not earned N3.5 billion as claimed and that the national chairman has not embezzled any money that belongs to the party as alleged.

“The records are there, except that Ms. Oluchi Opara doesn’t even understand simple accounting even as a treasurer. An external auditor is engaged by the party and our account is under constant scrutiny of INEC or other regulatory bodies.

“Abure does not own several houses and property as spuriously alleged by our estranged national treasurer, even though no law prohibits him from owning properties.

“The constitution of the LP in Article 14:1b provides that the National Chairman shall be the Accounting Officer of the party while 14:1d ‘Shall approve all expenditures and shall be a signatory to the Party’s Bank account(s).’

“Accordingly, Article 14: 6 states that the National Treasurer shall receive and promptly pay into the Party’s account(s), all monies received for and on behalf of the party.

“Shall ensure the preparation of Annual Statement of Account/Reports on finances of the party, including compilation of the party’s assets and liabilities and make the same available to the National Executive Council from time to time. Shall be a co-signatory to the party account(s).’

“These sections are clear as to the duty of the national chairman apart from providing leadership. The duty of the National Treasurer is also clearly spelt out.

“In the past, the party didn’t have accounting books or methods as it was run by the then chairman and Ms. Oluchi the treasurer. They were only accountable to themselves, but with the emergence of the Abure-led executive, and the growth of the party, it became imperative for the party to structure its accounting method and policy. This of course didn’t go down well with the national treasurer whose financial source was shut down.

“The party can understand her vituperations but we can’t help her situation more so when her time in the NWC is running out. Her wish to cash out was not granted and her subtle effort to push the leadership to ‘settle’ her was rejected hence her resolve to fight dirty.

“It will be recalled that she is alone in this battle. Several stakeholders have had course to prevail on her to bridle her inordinate ambition but all to no avail.

“We are surprised that despite all efforts to assure her of a future, she still went ahead to align with our detractors and sworn enemies of the party.

“The party will definitely take her case to the disciplinary committee where appropriate measures will be taken.”

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