ABIA State government has constituted a judicial commission of inquiry into the management of Abia Newspapers and Publishing Company, publishers of the state-owned Ambassador Newspapers, which has been in comatose for years.
The five-member panel, headed by Justice Amaobi Agbara, has the mandate to, among other things, investigate the immediate and remote causes of non-functional state of Abia Publishing Company from 1999 till date.
Inaugurating the panel, Governor Theodore Orji said it should also identify the assets, including printing machines and vehicles, acquired by the publishing company from 1999 till date.
Orji also urged the commission to investigate and determine whether the funds and assets appropriated to Abia Newspapers and Publishing Company were properly managed within this period, 1999 till date, and identify those involved in the mismanagement of funds appropriated to the corporation.
The governor further tasked the panel to make recommendations on how the company could be made functional and better efficient, saying the panel was not targeted at any individual or group.
Orji explained that the panel was raised following petitions received from concerned citizens of the state.
His words: “We all know the chequered history about that company. People have been writing petitions about what has been happening in that company. That is why we have to investigate why that newspaper cannot be out on the streets, in spite of the huge finances channelled into it; we are not here to mesmerize people.”
Chairman of the panel, Justice Amaobi Agbara, assured that the panel would be firm, just and give every person appearing before it fair hearing.