The rumour about the $12.5 million contract scam alleged against Imo State Governor, His Excellency Hope Uzodinma is still going through the process of investigation and until such is proven, it is considered to be a story targetted at maligning his image.
But however, EFCC is a reliable organization saddled with enormous responsibility to unravel those involved in crimes such as this, we want to urge government officials of all cadre to play safe and work according to the laws established in the discharge of their duties.
Our investigative team tracked the story trending on social media outlets at the time of filling this report and decided to make few clarifications and directions while cautioning those parading such stories to allow investigation take its place.
The original report reads as thus:
$12.5 million Contract Scam: Uzodinma Still under Investigation, Will be Charged to Court after Hand Over – EFCC
By Olusegun Adeniyi, Abuja
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says it has resumed investigation into the whereabouts of the $12.5 million Dollars botched contract fraud involving an erstwhile Senator and Governor of Imo State, Hope Uzodinma for the dredging of Calabar Channel from Nigerian Ports Authority but was diverted after the contract was abandoned.
The Commission’s Spokesperson revealed that it has intensified efforts to drag Uzodinma to court immediately after he hands over his position to another person to assist the commission to unravel the fraud.
It can be recalled that in 2018, Premium Times exposed Uzodinma fraudulent tendencies involving $12.5 million, about N4 billion if converted to Naira.
The report has it that a Nigerian senator and governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress was arrested at the Abuja airport over his involvement in the contract fraud to the tune of $12.5 million.
Hope Uzodinma was taken into custody on Sunday shortly after arriving at the nation’s capital aboard an Air Peace flight, according to the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property.
“We have arrested him and he is in our custody in Asokoro,” the panel’s lead Okoi Obono-Obla told PREMIUM TIMES Monday morning. “He has been evading our arrest since last year.”
Mr Obono-Obla said his committee launched a manhunt for Mr Uzodinma shortly after PREMIUM TIMES EXPOSED HIM from the Goodluck Jonathan administration. He received $12.5 million of the contract sum for the dredging of Calabar channel from the Nigerian Ports Authority, but failed to execute the contract.
PREMIUM TIMES also found that Mr Jonathan’s government did not comply with extant contracting regulations, and ignored administrative warnings about the potential consequences of the illegality.
“We have been looking for him since we saw the wonderful investigation that PREMIUM TIMES carried out on the matter, and then we were also helped by a petition which a citizen took time to forward to our panel,” Mr Obono-Obla said.
“The petition went to the presidency, and then it was forwarded to us for action,” Mr Obno-Obla said. “We have made all efforts to get him, including writing to him and the Senate on several occasions, but he ignored our invitation and evaded our attempts to get him to come and explain what he did.”
Mr Obono-Obla described Mr Uzodinma’s action as “economic sabotage” and said it was an actionable intelligence that led to his arrest at the airport last night.
“He got a contract to dredge Calabar Ports, which we all know can help this country’s economy significantly, but refused to do it, but instead, diverted the funds” he said.
Mr Obono-Obla said his committee does not hold suspects for extended period, and Mr Uzodinma would be released after writing a statement. “We would then charge him to court after that,” he added.
Similarly, Uzodinma in the past was involved in the diversion of Imo State Local Government allocation funds to the tune of N2.4 billion every month, after each LGA is compelled to remit over N91 million monthly.
Also, Uzodinma was said to have awarded a 44 kilometer federal roads with over N84 Billion, and was reimbursed by the Muhammadu Buhari administration before its exit.
© PREMIUM TIMES
NB: The above report is an allegation at the time of this report which was levied against the Governor of Imo State, His Excellency Hope Uzodinma which is yet be established by the appropriate authority.