There are strong indications that the Imo State government is not leaving any stone unturned in its avowed commitment to probe the government of Emeka Ihedioha who held sway for seven months.
Information glimpsed from sources close to the state legislature indicates that the legislators are setting up different committees to probe the past government. Their focus centres on contracts awarded by the administration.
Chuka Odom, was principally fingered to answer some questions because according to them, he midwifed so many of the contracts.
Odom’s company, Wall House Limited reportedly was contracted to procure and supply construction equipment for the 27 local government areas in the state.
Gov. Hope Uzodinma in his address to Imo people marking his 100 days in office swore to recover every kobo fraudulently removed from Imo coffers and appears set to move into action. It has been reported that those who were involved in the ghost workers scam would soon have their day in the court.
However, sources close to the past governor speaking under condition of anonymity has hinted that they do not trust any probe panel set up by the administration because it isclearly based on witch hunt. They made reference to the alleged 20bn swindled by Ihedioha which according to them was only designed to smear the past governor’s good reputation.
“It is clear that there cannot be fair judgement from the committees”, so declared the source.
Consequently, there is also a strong indication that Ihedioha and Odom would be exercising the option of a court order to stop the government from their attempts to rubbish their names. This was the same action Okorocha took in the attempt to stop the contract probe panel.
As at the time of going to press it was not yet certain if there is any obtained injunction or if it is still in the works to obtain to halt the effort. It is also not clear what the government’s response would be if the duo ambush them with a court order.
Recall that the information commissioner, Declan Emelumba in a broadcast, alleged that the Wall House (WA) Limited was paid N1.2 Billion for the supply of construction equipment, which according to him, was not documented.
However, Wall House (WA) Limited through its General Manager, Martin Agba, described it as an allegation.
He stated “We were subsequently invited to make our presentation and on the 19th of September 2019, we were chosen as the preferred bidder for the supply of 57 (fifty seven) units of Caterpillar earthmoving and construction equipment as specified in the Memorandum of Agreement and Letter of Award.
“In accordance with the Article 8 of the Agreement, we were entitled to a staggered payment of 50% of the contract sum while we undertook to commence the procurement of the equipment immediately. The same week, our procurement staff left for the United States of America to commence the procurement process.”
It further stated, “under the first phase of the procurement, we are to deliver a total of 27 units of these equipment.
“By a letter dated March 2, 2020, which was duly acknowledged by The Secretary to the Imo State Government, we notified the Imo State Government of the arrival of 25 units of graders and payloaders from the United States of America. We requested the government to provide us a location in Owerri to deliver the equipment.
“On March 23, 2020, our chairman, Chief Chuka Odom met the governor, His Excellency, Senator Hope Uzodinma in his office in Owerri and briefed him personally on the state of the procurement. His Excellency directed his Chief of Staff, Chief Nnamdi Anyaehie to provide the company a location to deliver the equipment.
“On March 24, 2020, a total of 17 units of these equipment, comprising 7 payloaders and 10 graders were delivered on the instruction of the governor to Heroes Square in the presence of Chief Nnamdi Anyaehie and Lady Ruby Emele in charge of Local Government affairs. Our chairman personally oversaw the delivery.
“The remaining 10 units of equipment are currently in Lagos and would have been delivered to Owerri if not for the lockdown and restriction of movement. These will be delivered as soon as movement resumes.
“Contrary to the allegation of Mr. Emelumba, we have received the sum of N945,000,000.00 (Nine Hundred & Forty Five Million Naira) representing about 50% of the entire contract sum.
Continuing Agba said: “We are therefore at a total loss, against the foregoing, the motive behind the unwarranted, malicious and libelous allegations made against our company by the said commissioner.
“We have absolute faith in the integrity of the high office of the governor of Imo State and its officials to set the records straight.
“We shall deliver the remaining 10(ten) units of equipment as soon as movement resumes. “It is our belief that government is a continuum and we shall duly execute this contract in terms of the agreement and expect the Association of Local Government Chairmen, which is a separate arm of government, to fulfill its own obligations under the contract.”