N106bn fraud: Okorocha dares Uzodinma to publish his “Ben Johnson” panel report

Former Imo state governor and current Senator representing Imo West Senatorial District, Senator Rocha Okorocha has challenged the incumbent Governor of the state, Senator Hope Uzodinma to publish the report that indicted him of commiting N106 billion contract fraud.

Uzodinma had alleged that a panel chaired by Justice Benjamin Iheaka has recommended that key players of the government from 2011 to 2019 refund the state N106 billion which was the amount used to award fictitious contracts in the state.

In reply, Okorocha through his media aide, Sam Onwuemeodo on Tuesday warned Governor Uzodinma to “stop taking Imo people and Nigerians for granted with bogus allegations.”

The statement released by Onwuemeodo reads;

“We challenge the government in Imo, led by Senator Hope Uzodinma to publish the Iheaka report verbatim, so that Imo people in particular and Nigerians in general, could read the report and see how the Panel arrived at N106 billion, which they said that Senator Okorocha should refund.

“No serious panel would have made such recommendation. It could only take a “Ben Johnson” Panel to do that. And let the government publish the list of Contractors who handled contracts under Okorocha, State the Contracts they did, how much they were paid respectively, how they were paid and what they should have been paid, in the estimation of the Panel members.

“Governor Uzodinma should explain what he has done with the N119 billion he has Collected from the federation account and N6.4 billion ISOPADEC fund. Vis-a-viz the IGR. The governor said he came through “Ben Johnson” way and since January 14, 2020 when he came on board, all his actions and utterances have been “Ben Johnson” way.

“We have always claimed that Okorocha as governor, had more than one thousand projects to his Credit and nobody, including the government in Imo has said it is not true or has openly Challenged us to publish the projects because they know that the projects exist. And if they exist, how would have someone made away with N106 Billion and still do such befitting projects.

“The problem at the moment is that Imo people have begun to miss Owelle Okorocha just one year and five months, after he had left as governor, because they are yet to see new things in the State since he left. Imo people have come to realize that Okorocha was exceptional in terms of working for them and they have also come to know the difference between Capacity and Ben Johnson way.

“Roads built by Okorocha which they branded China roads, are still what Imo people are using. No new road. They could not even maintain the existing roads. They are living in Odenigbo Presidential lodge and Governor’s lodge built by Okorocha. The two flyovers built by Okorocha are still the only flyovers. Ditto, the two tunnels built by Okorocha. The Judges and Lawyers have moved to the Ultra Modern Justice Oputa High Court Complex built by Okorocha, from the shanties they had called High Court. They have Continued to foot drag in asking the Police to move to the new Police Headquarters built by Okorocha and the Prisons to the new Prison Headquarters built by Okorocha. They have refused to open the International Cargo airport built by Okorocha. The projects are there. Let them mention one project they have done since January 14, 2020 when they came on board.

“We are also demanding for the Publication of the report because we do not believe that the Chairman of the Panel, a Judge, could go ahead to submit report on a matter that is pending at a Federal High Court in which the Presiding Judge had ordered for the maintenance of the Status quo. Okorocha had gone to Court to complain that several Panels cannot be probing him on the same issues, the EFCC is probing him too, following Petitions from the same government.

“For almost nine months on Seat, the government in Imo has been struggling for acceptance. In his Independence Day speech the governor said that he inherited systematic fraudulent system from Ihedioha. Two days after, he said that Okorocha should refund N106 billion. Some days ago, it was that Okorocha’s appointees joined Uzodinma. After that, the story became that Okorocha’s kinsmen have joined Uzodinma. Or, Mr. A or B has joined APC.

“In the history of Imo, this is also the first government that Chartered a flight, took 7 Imo people to Abuja just for the purpose of passing Vote of Confidence on a government that is yet to take off. And since then, it has been Vote of Confidence galore. In Igbo land, it is a serious issue when someone’s shadow is pursuing him or when the “land” is pursuing the person. It is not a normal thing.

“Again, Governor Uzodinma should please wake-up. Your Excellency, wake- uuuup. Time does not wait for anybody especially in governance. You cannot tell Imo people that your achievements at the end of the day is pursuing Okorocha, to satisfy those behind you. This is the first government in the history of the State to take off with non-payment of Salaries and having issues with every sector in the State. The governor should face governance and leave Controversies because they do not add up.

“The truth is that Imo people and Nigerians in general, know who Senator Uzodinma is, even long before his governorship. And it is even interesting that he is the one talking about fraud, embezzlement and siphoning of funds these days. This is a good story indicating that wonders shall never cease to happen.”