Richard a Ginika Izuora
The governor of Imo State, Hope Uzodinma, on Tuesday, October 6, made a disclosure that last governments in the State, from 2006 to 2019, awarded illegal contracts to the tune of N1.6 billion.
This was contained in the report of the State Judicial Commission of Enquiry on Contracts awarded in Imo State; between 2006 and 2019 submitted to Uzodinma on Monday.
Amongst the recommendations suggested is for the culprits to return the monies to the coffers of the state government.
The chairman of the panel, Justice Benjamin Iheaka, submitting the report at the Executive Chambers, Government House, Owerri said “there were monumental fraud that were orchestrated by the contractors in the period under review with strong collusion with some civil servants who helped in the fraud which was evidenced in over-pricing of the value of the contracts executed in the state.”
According to Justice Iheaka, the committee findings showed there were flagrant disregard for due process; and the rules of Bureau for the State’s Public Procurement Act in the awards of contracts by the past administrations.
He said that was exhibited in “outrageous contract pricing and shady contract executions; as well as payment for non performing contracts.”
Furthermore, he stated that the committee got proof of non-existing and phoney companies; that were used to siphon state government funds to the tune of N1.6 billion.
He urged Governor Uzodinma to incorporate the recommendations of the committee; in order to ensure total retrieval of the stolen funds.
In his response, Uzodimma, promised that everyone indicted and identified in the report to have played a role in frittering away public funds through criminal ways would be made to return them.
The governor said that the State Government would in coming days set-up a review committee to look at the report submitted by the panel and produce a Whitepaper that would give government the actual direction to follow in implementing the report in full.