Home NewsLocal News Okorocha’s Aide Opens Up On How Contractors recked Imo Govt Billions without Projects

Okorocha’s Aide Opens Up On How Contractors recked Imo Govt Billions without Projects

by OtownGist

The Judicial Commission of Inquiry on Contracts sitting in Owerri has uncovered how a contractor who was awarded a $100 million (about N39.6 billion) ‘Sundry capital project’ at Area K World Bank bolted away with the money after being paid by former Governor Rochas Okorocha’s administration without executing the project.

The Probe Panel investigating contracts awarded between 2007-2019 under ex-governor, Okorocha realised that some of the contracts under the former governor did not have case files despite their values being in billions while others were fully paid for without executing the contracts.

The former Principal Secretary to Okorocha who was alleged to have signed contract award letters without the contractor signing the agreement and was to asked to clarify why the contract for the new state High Court Complex was awarded in three different titles — Justice Oputa High Court Complex; Imo State Judiciary Headquarters and Imo State Judiciary Complex– with monies paid for each of them in billions.

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Obi,who was answering questions from the witness box told the jury that most contracts awarded by Okorocha’s administration were done without agreements signed by the contractors. He disclosed that women of Owerri community had stopped the project from being executed adding that the contractor had taken government to court over the project.

The commission discovered that most of the major contracts awarded under Okorocha administration did not have contract agreements executed by the state government and the contractors, even when contract sums were fully paid each of them in billions.

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Obi insisted that the projects were in existence and that the contracts were given to three different contractors who he said delivered.

He added that there was need to get the architectural designs from the Ministry of Works to confirm their existence.

The commission also discovered that some of the contracts did not have case files despite their value running into billions of naira and the contractors fully paid.

Dr. Obi, who personally signed the contracts as Chairman of the Government House Task Force Projects Committee, expressed surprise that the contractors did not sign contract agreements but still received payments from his office.

He disclosed that the Task Force committee headed by him was used to replace the State Tenders Board.

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He said as the man in charge of the award of contracts, he signed his own column of the contact agreements and sent same to the office of the secretary of the task force to ensure every contractor signed theirs before being paid mobilisation fees.

Responding to a question on why N650 million was paid for the construction of the new ministries of Transport and Lands offices without the contract being awarded and that building could not be found anywhere in the state, Obi said he was not in a position to know the projects executed, because he was not in charge of project inspection.

He disclosed that ex-governor Okorocha was in charge of project inspection and should be held responsible for any substandard projects or the ones paid for, but not executed.

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On why some of the contracts, like the internal roads in Ihitte Uboma Local Government Area and a project designated as Sunrise Park were not listed in any files as contracts awarded despite billions of naira paid for them, Obi also expressed the surprise about the projects saying he was not aware of their locations.

The commission also discovered that in January 2013, a contract was awarded for the construction of Egbeada-Afor Umuaka Road at the cost of N2.4 billion at the recommendation of the committee led by the then Secretary to the Government of Imo State, but was curiously cancelled and re-awarded to another contractor at the cost of N3.6 billion two weeks later by Dr. Obi.

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The commission also discovered that some of the contracts did not have case files despite their value running into billions of naira and the contractors fully paid.

He disclosed that the Task Force committee headed by him was used to replace the State Tenders Board.

He said as the man in charge of the award of contracts, he signed his own column of the contact agreements and sent same to the office of the secretary of the task force to ensure every contractor signed theirs before being paid mobilisation fees.

Responding to a question on why N650 million was paid for the construction of the new ministries of Transport and Lands offices without the contract being awarded and that building could not be found anywhere in the state, Obi said he was not in a position to know the projects executed, because he was not in charge of project inspection.

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He disclosed that Okorocha was in charge of projects inspection and should be held responsible for any substandard projects or ones paid for but not executed.

On why some of the contracts, like the internal roads in Ihitte Uboma local government area and a project designated as Sunrise Park were not listed in any files as contracts awarded despite billions of naira paid for them, Obi also expressed surprise, saying he did not know the locations.

IMO TRUMPETA

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