The police in Cross River State have invited the managing director of the state water board, Chief Victor Effiom in connection with the suspicious carting away of water treatment chemicals from the premises of the corporation. The truck conveying the chemicals was intercepted on Saturday by the police and taken to the police, alongside the driver and conductor.
TNN found out that the truck was loaded with the chemicals last Friday and was ready to move out of Calabar same day, but developed a fault. The mechanics fixed the truck on Saturday and the driver never knew that information had leaked about the stolen chemicals, prompting the police to lay ambush for them.
Policemen who had kept vigil since Friday, monitoring their every move, intercepted them along the Calabar Road and forced them to do a detour. They have been in detention since Saturday.
It was learnt that the chemicals are worth N16 million. Sources said a very top official of the corporation had arranged with a buyer in Aba, Abia State.
When TNN spoke with the managing director on Saturday night, he claimed that the chemicals were bought on credit from a dealer in Aba and that the dealer sought and obtained a court order to retrieve the chemicals since the water board could not pay for them.
He also claimed that the decision to return the chemicals was taken at a management meeting where all the managers of the corporation agreed that the chemicals could be returned.
But TNN findings showed that the managing director may not have said the truth. For example, when TNN contacted a top official of the legal department of the water board over the telephone on Sunday, he said he was not aware of any court order to that effect.
Also, TNN spoke with other top officials of the water board who also denied knowledge of any decision of the management to the effect that the chemicals should be moved out of the premises and returned to Aba.
The new police commissioner, Aminu Alhassan who confirmed the arrest of the truck with the chemicals, as well as the driver and conductor also said the managing director has been invited to appear before the police alongside other staff of the corporation to explain what they know about the movement of the chemicals.
He said the MD must report to the police or he would be arrested if he failed to report. He also said the truck had not been opened since the day it was intercepted, adding that it would only be opened after the major suspects must have reported at the police station.