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IMO: Panel says past govts in state awarded N1.6bn scam contracts

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Past governments in Imo, from 2006 to 2019, have been accused of awarding contracts to the tune of N1.6 billion that turned out to be scam.

This was contained in the report the state Judicial Commission of Enquiry on Contracts awarded in Imo State between 2006 and 2019 submitted to Uzodinma on Monday.

The panel recommended that those involved in the contract awards should be made to return the N1.6 billion to the state government.

The chairman of the panel, Justice Benjamin Iheaka, submitting the report at the Executive Chambers, Government House, Owerri said “there were monumental fraud that were orchestrated by the contractors in the period under review with strong collusion with some civil servants who helped in the fraud which was evidenced in over-pricing of the value of the contracts executed in the state.”

According to Justice Iheaka, the committee findings showed there were fragrant disregard for due process and the rules of Bureau for the state’s Public Procurement Act in the awards of contracts by the past administrations.

READ ALSO: Imo govt vows to recover missing N12.3b in state commission for oil producing areas

He said that was exhibited in “outrageous contract pricing and shady contract executions as well as payment for non performing contracts.”

The panel chairman went further to explain that the committee got proofs of non-existing and phoney companies that were used to siphon state government funds to the tune of N1.6 billion.

He urged Governor Uzodinma not to dump the panel’s report and its recommendations but should use his powers to ensure the fund was recovered.

In his response, Uzodimma, receiving the report, promised that everyone indicted and identified in the report to have played a role in frittering away public funds through criminal ways would be made to return them.

The governor said that the state government would in coming days set-up a review committee to look at the report submitted by the panel and produce a Whitepaper that would give government the actual direction to follow in implementing the report in full.

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