The embattled former Vice Chancellor of the Imo State University, Prof. Innocent Okonkwo on May 12, this year got a verdict from a Federal High Court sitting in Owerri clearing him of any wrong doings and declaring him innocent of all allegations in a matter that has lingered for more than eight years in connections with this activities as the Head of the Imo State premier tertiary institution.
Delivering judgement, the presiding judge said that there evidence on the issues that brought the man to court nor any witness to testify against the accused, and also chided the Economic and Finance Crime Commission for wading into a case it could not prosecute. With this last judgement Prof. Okonkwo who had obtained other earlier clearance judgments, both at ICPC and CCT had been cleared off any stigma associated with his tenure as the university Head even when he was denied the right to re-instatement due to what the court called, “effusion of time”.
It would be recalled that Prof. Okonkwo’s travails began in 2009 under the administration of Dr. Ikedi Ohakim who in the bid to find excuse to smear the image of the Vice Chancellor in order to sack him and perhaps witch hunt the former State Chief Executive, Chief Ohakim set up a seven man visitation panel to be headed by Hon. Justice Nsofor who later declined the appointment without citing any reason.
With the decline of Justice Nsofor to serve in the panel, Chief Ohakim brought his kinsmen, now late Prof. Nnamdi Asika from Mbano and three others also from Mbano as members of the seven man panel to do the execute the hatchet job, they included Mr. A.C. Duru who served as the Secretary, Barr. Chidi Nwoka and Barr. Nwokorie all from Mbano.
Determined to ensure that the Orlu born Vice Chancellor was punished, the Governor as soon as he received the hurried reports of the seven man panel which enlisted a number of allegations against the leadership of Prof. Okonkwo did not hesitate in involving the three federal government anti-graft agencies, the EFCC, the ICPC and the Code of Conduct Bureau where it was alleged that he spent huge sum to obtain results.
While the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission and the Code of Conduct Bureau were quick in giving clean slate judgement of “no wrong doings” on the suspended Vice- Chancellor, the matter with the EFCC which was the first agency to step into the matter for some obvious reason lingered for so long.
In the first instance, Prof. Okonkwo was incarcerated at the EFCC cell for 3 weeks before he was brought to court where for some unknown reasons the judge refused to grant him bail and ordered for his detention at Kuje Prisons where it was said that the erudite scholar spent another three weeks.
However, Prof. Okonkwo went to seek redress at the court in 2011 he obtained a judgment of no wrong doing from an Owerri High Court presided over by Justice Nonye Okoronkwo levelled against the applicant in the panel’s report and white paper but could not order for his re-instatement to office. Not satisfied with the judgment of the Owerri High Court, the Imo State government went on appeal and since abandoned the matter until the former crossed appealed the judgment the court upheld the lower court judgment, ordering that he be paid all his entitlement.
It was observed that the bursar who served under the tenure of Prof. Okonkwo and who was also thrown into prison with him is today deceased. Reacting to the recent court judgement, the elated Prof. Innocent Okonkwo said he thanked God that this matter is over “I am finally and thoroughly cleared of all wrong doings, “yes I spent three weeks at EFCC and 3 weeks in Kuje Prisons but it is all over”. Grapevine Source stated that Chief Ohakim took all the tedious legal action to get at his predecessor, Chief Achike Udenwa.
Courtesy: Community Watchdog News