The Imo State government has directed former governor Rochas Okorocha to present proof of ownership of an expanse of land in Orji, Owerri North local council, which allegedly hitherto belonged to Imo Broadcasting Corporation (IBC), before April 21, 2021 or forfeit it.
The government has also vowed to implement the report of a panel which uncovered alleged fraudulent contract awards to the tune of N100 billion during Okorocha’s administration.
The former governor has, however, challenged Governor Hope Uzodimma to account for several billions of naira his administration has so far received from federal allocations and Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).
It was gathered that the Rochas Foundation acquired the land in question for the building of the Rochas Foundation College. Immediate past governor, Emeka Ihedioha, had constituted the Justice Florence Duruoha-Igwe (rtd) panel of Enquiry on Lands and Related Matters, which returned the land to the state government in its report.
The Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Declan Emelumba, who briefed journalists after the weekly Executive Council meeting at the Government House, Owerri, yesterday, said: “Government has given Okorocha till April 21, 2021, to come and show prove of ownership of the said property or it will be finally forfeited to the state government.”
Emelumba also said the council expressed disgust over the distortion of the New Owerri Master Plan by the Okorocha administration.
The Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Cyprain O. C. Akaolisa, who also spoke in Owerri, said the state government would soon begin the implementation of the report of the panel that investigated contract awards during the Okorocha administration, stressing that recoveries of public property were ongoing.
Akaolisa said the cost of most of the contracts investigated by the panel was inflated while some were not executed, among other alleged sharp practices.
His words: “I am privy and I can tell Imo people that Okorocha removed from this state nothing less than N100 billion of its resources through contracts and other means.
“As the Attorney General of Imo State, I do not think that any sensible person or any authority in Nigeria will tell us to drop our actions as it relates to Okorocha in the recovery of properties illegally acquired, which belong to the state but are in the hands of private citizens associated with Okorocha.”
Reacting through his Special Adviser on Media, Sam Onwuemeodo, Okorocha said his administration executed verifiable projects that positively touched the lives of Imo people, urging the Uzodimma administration to account for the billions it has received so far.
“There was a general outcry over the approval of N9 billion loan for the governor by the state House of Assembly, making it about N40 billion loan the government has taken in one year. Add the N40 billion to N94 billion Federal Allocation, N52 billion from IGR, ISOPADEC funds and local council allocations and see the billions that had come into the coffers of the lmo State government, with not even one project to show for it; whereas Okorocha never borrowed money for any reason and was able to have more than one thousand verifiable projects to his credit.”
In this article: