A former president of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV) Mr Gershom Henshaw has said that neither him nor the Minister of Niger Delta, Pastor Usani Usani Uguru, were ever indicted by the Government of Cross Rivers State over alleged professional conduct when the minister served as a commissioner in the state.
Henshaw, in a statement denied media reports, which indicated that his company and the minister were indicted in a government white paper in 2000.
He stated that the recommendation of an investigative panel set up by the military regime was rejected in the white paper.
The statement read in part: “Last week, some newspapers carried stories to the effect that Gershom Henshaw and Company, a firm of estate Surveyors and Valuers was indicted alongside Mr Usani Usani, who was Commissioner for Agriculture, Water Resources and Rural Development, when Colonel Umaru Ahmed, was the administrator of Cross River State.
“However, Governor Donald Duke who took over from Col Ahmed inaugurated on June 21, 1999 the Financial Impropriety/Verification Standing Committee to, among others: ‘ascertain the assets and liabilities of the ministries and institutions, all forms of financial impropriety (if any) in government ministries and establishments, the perpetrators of such financial improprieties; and recommend appropriate disciplinary actions to be taken against the culprits, including recovery of all such sums.”
“One of the recommendations of the committee was that the former commissioner be prosecuted and that details of the transaction be forwarded to the Code of Conduct Tribunal. A White paper was thereafter issued and gazetted on it.
“But in a corrigendum published by the State government on December 19, 2000, government admitted it made some mistakes as they concerned the firm of Gersh Henshaw and Company.
“Government said in the case of Gersh Henshaw and Company, the following mistakes, which were erroneously made in the Government White Paper, are hereby corrected as follows: page 53, paragraph 38.”
The statement indicated that “Government rejects this recommendation as there was an express offer for higher payment by the then Commissioner for Agriculture, Water Resources and Rural Development, Mr Usani U Usani.”
The statement said the records of government’s official documents were easily accessible, adding that interested parties should desist from making political capital out of the report.