The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has said it recovered Constituency Project items worth N117,123,375.44 million from Senator Chukwuka Utazi who represents Enugu North Senatorial District.
Utazi, a former chairman of the Senate Committee on Anti-corruption and Financial Crimes, was alleged to have warehoused 203 grinding machines, 60 motorcycles, five transformers, 168 motorcycles and 51 tricycles.
A statement by spokesperson of ICPC, Rasheedat Okoduwa, said the commission has impounded the items and sealed off the senator’s compound.
ICPC stated that the contract for the procurement of the items was awarded on 23rd January 2018, under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as part of the Senator’s constituency projects. The lifespan of the 8th Senate, when the items were procured, expired on June 5 this year.
However, Senator Utazi explained that he planned to distribute the items during the National Assembly annual vacation, for effective supervision.
According to him, he could not distribute the items during election period to avoid being accused of inducement of voters.
“Next Tuesday, I will start the distribution of the materials in Igboeze-South and Igboeze-North council areas, Wednesday will be for Udenu LG, Thursday Nsukka LG then Friday will be for Igboetiti LG while Uzowani LG will be on Monday August 12,” he said.
ICPC’s Okoduwa noted that recovery is a part of the ongoing Constituency Projects Tracking Group (CPTG) initiative, which is to ensure the satisfactory execution and completion of all Constituency Projects across the country.
The statement read: “The items covered by this amount and recovered from the legislator are 168 and 51 numbers of motorcycles and tricycles respectively. They were discovered to be stashed away in a compound in Mkpologu town of Uzo-Nwani Local Government Area, believed to be owned by the Senator.
“ICPC findings indicated clearly that the contract for the procurement of the items was awarded on 23rd January 2018, under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as part of the Senator’s constituency projects.
“Investigations have also shown that the companies awarded the contracts for the project are as follows: Al-Amir Int. Ltd., Du-Lumac Ltd., Com Technologies System Ltd. and Chumax Agency Ltd.
“Additionally, ICPC recovered 203 grinding machines, 60 motorcycles and 5 transformers in the compound which had been procured under another constituency project.
“Thereupon the Commission impounded all the items and sealed the Senator’s compound.
“The tricycles, motorcycles and grinding machines were meant to be distributed to the lawmaker’s constituents to empower them as part of the Federal Government’s efforts to alleviate poverty.
“The Senator has pledged to ICPC that they would be distributed to beneficiaries on Tuesday 6th August, 2019.
“While ICPC is investigating circumstances that led to the items being in the possession of the sponsoring legislator rather than the implementing agency, its officers will be on the scene to supervise the distribution.”