The Labour Party has refuted claims of possessing N3.5 billion and asserted that its national chairman, Julius Abure, did not misappropriate any funds belonging to the party.
The national publicity secretary of the Labour Party, Obiora Ifoh, made this declaration in a statement released on Monday, according to The Nation.
The party’s national treasurer, Oluchi Oparah, had requested transparency from Abure regarding the party’s financial affairs.
Oparah, during a news briefing in Abuja on Monday, said the finances amounted to over N3.5 billion derived from the sales of forms and other fundraising activities for the 2023 general elections.
The treasurer contended that she was unable to fulfil her legally mandated duty of managing the party’s finances due to the actions of the national chairman.
Reacting to the allegations, the party 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 8 years as National Treasurer without a single record of party accounts, no other member of the national working committee has raised any issue of embezzlement against out 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 Labour Party 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 Labour Party 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).’
It further stated: “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.”