OHAKIM ASKS COMMISSION TO PROBE UDENWA

The Imo State governor, Chief Ikedi Ohakim, has sworn in an eight- member Judiciary Commission of Inquiry with a mandate to probe all contracts awarded by the Chief Achike Udenwa-led administration.

The commission would probe all the contracts awarded from May 29, 1999 to May 28, 2007, valued at N5 million and above.

The governor stated that only a diligent investigation could unravel valid answers to agitations by residents of the state on how they were governed by the former governor.

He said that in accordance with the New Face of Imo philosophy and the need for accountability backed by the Cap 24 of Eastern Nigeria Law 1963, Imo people deserved to be given the right answers to their questions.

The terms of reference as read out by the governor include, to identify all contracts valued at N5 million and above, awarded by or on behalf of the Imo State government or its parastatals between May 29,1999 and May 28,2007, and to detect any payment in excess of work done including kickbacks in cash or kind, paid to or received by an individual or organisation for which no work was done.

Others are to examine the role of project officers in the execution of the said contracts and to indicate whether the officers were competent to handle such projects, as well as the degree of effectiveness and accountability shown by the officers and make recommendations.

The Judicial Commission of Inquiry would also ascertain the roles of government officials and apportion blame where necessary, it would also establish which organ of government awarded contracts, as well as whether such organs were competent to award such contracts.

In addition, it would also ascertain whether the contracts followed procedural regulations and establish the degree of culpability of individuals and officials concerned with the award of contract.

The term of reference also include assessing the original cost and content of the agreement entered into on behalf of the government on the said contracts.

The governor directed that the commission of inquiry was to determine whether the original contract sum was reasonable in relation to the scope of work, whether the objects of the agreement were in the interest of the state government, sieve the oppressive provisions and the role of legal and professional government agencies in the award of the contracts, the need or otherwise of variations as approved in accordance with the state financial instructions, inspect the project site and assess the performance of the individual contractors against payments made to them.

Their mandate would also include identifying any inquiries raised by directors of audit on each contract, as well as make any other recommendation that would enhance the effectiveness of government in the administration of projects and contracts.

The Commission which was given three months to submit their report has as its chairman, Justice Jonas Obasi Iwuagwu and Mr. Jonathan Osuagwu as secretary.

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