Calls for Broader Probe: Abia Health Commissioner’s Suspension Unveils Deep-Seated Corruption | #NwokeukwuMascot


Calls for Broader Investigation Following Suspension of Abia State Health Commissioner | #NwokeukwuMascot

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Following the suspension of Dr. Ngozi Okoronkwo, Abia State Commissioner for Health, over allegations of financial impropriety, there are growing demands for a more extensive investigation within the Ministry of Health. Stakeholders commend Governor Alex Otti for his decisive action but urge further measures to ensure a thorough and transparent probe.

A key figure in these calls is the Director of Finance of the Ministry of Health, Ikechukwu Nwabuko, who has been in his position for eight years. Critics argue that Nwabuko’s prolonged tenure and alleged involvement in various fraudulent activities, such as the mismanagement of COVID-19 funds and dubious renovations of health facilities, make his continued presence in the ministry a significant obstacle to a genuine investigation.

Reports suggest he has played a central role in financial misconduct, including ensuring that overseas-based health workers receive salaries under special arrangements, which has been a financial burden on the state.

It has been rumored that Nwabuko was instrumental in assisting the suspended commissioner in various financial misdeeds, leading her to insist that he ignore postings ordered by the Accountant General and the Head of Service. Observers argue that his redeployment or suspension is crucial to prevent him from obstructing the investigation and to maintain the integrity of the process.

Additionally, concerns have been raised about the influence and actions of Dr. Okoronkwo prior to her suspension. Allegations include her defiance of Governor Otti's directives regarding the retirement of long-serving directors, specifically instructing certain health workers and Local Government Health Authority Secretaries to disregard the Governor's retirement orders. This defiance has reportedly caused disaffection within the ministry, as some health workers who have served for 35 years remain in office while their peers have retired.

Director of Finance of the Ministry of Health, Ikechukwu Nwabuko.

Further accusations suggest that Dr. Okoronkwo instructed Nwabuko to withhold payroll from certain health staff, including those who had transferred services or returned from leaves of absence. These workers have allegedly not received their salaries for several months, with some going unpaid for over a year.

The controversy surrounding the former commissioner’s tenure highlights significant governance issues within the Ministry of Health. Many believe that without addressing the role of Nwabuko and other potential collaborators, any investigation into the financial misconduct will lack credibility and effectiveness.

For Governor Otti's administration, which has pledged to uphold transparency and accountability, these developments present a critical test. Ensuring a comprehensive investigation that includes all key figures is seen as essential to restoring public trust and demonstrating the administration's commitment to combating corruption.


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