Ichie Uche Best Mbanaso, former Orlu Mayor who later was elevated to Commissioner for Works and Transport and the controversial Special Adviser(SA) on City and Market Development to Owelle Rochas Okorocha, is reported to be on the run, following his inability to account for or return the Imo Rural Roads Maintenance Agency (IRROMA) trucks purchased by Ex-Governor Ikedi Ohakim but which they inherited in 2011, on assumption of office.
His decision to escape from the long arm of the law, probably prosecution and go into perpetual hiding for his dear life, was premised on the revelations that have so far emerged to prove that he allegedly auctioned about 15 of the IRROMA trucks.
A source close to the committee members on recovery of Imo government property had alleged that Ichie Mbanaso, who fell apart with his confidant of seven years, Rochas Okorocha, actually sold the 15 trucks to an Aba based business man and auctioneer with names withheld.
When the committee on recovery of public property stormed his expansive Umuowa Orlu home, one official hilux van and a truck were recovered, forcing the Committee to believe that he has case to answer over the whereabouts of the rest of those IRROMA trucks and earth moving vehicles.
Initially, when a demand notice was given to him to return all such items in his custody, instead he reneged and went into oblivion and could not be reached on his phone. Several calls showed that he deliberately and for fear of the unknown, switched-off his handset.
However, our reporter who was apportuned to have his new phone line was able to reach him.
In his reaction, Mbanaso advised the caller to direct all enquiries and hold Ex-Governor Okorocha responsible for the missing IRROMA vehicles, since he merely took his instructions and acted based on his promptings on the IRROMA trucks. “I would not have taken any decision without the express approval of Okorocha”, he stated.
It does appear that the need to dispose-off the IRROMA vehicles, was the sole reason for the appointment of Ichie Uche Best Mbanaso, as Imo State Commissioner for Works and Transport. He had earlier established the Imo Construction Company in collaboration with Owelle Rochas Okorocha, using those IRROMA trucks to execute all roads contracts, albeit to such unwholesome substandard and referred to as “china roads”.
It was during this period that the duo, using IRROMA trucks and heavy duty equipment embarked on the dualization of Mgbee-Orlu and Owerri-Orlu roads. They had closed or sealed the asphalt plant where the truck driver from France was working and engaged him as an appropriate expatriate only to appropriate the ancestral home of late Imo Gogo, where a hotel complex is being erected now at Orlu. Even at death, Mbanaso and Okorocha were unable to compensate Gogo for his home, they appropriated.
They had closed or sealed the asphalt plant where the truck driver from France was working and engaged him as an appropriate expatriate only to appropriate the ancestral home of late Imo Gogo, where a hotel complex is being erected now at Orlu. Even at death, Mbanaso and Okorocha were unable to compensate Gogo for his home, they appropriated.
The Imo Construction Company was an off-shoot of JP Construction Company, which road contracts were supervised by Mbanaso.
Watchdog Newspaper had on several occasions conducted several interviews on Gogo, who died while living in the open air under the tree where Mbanaso and Okorocha threw out his personal belongings, while taking over his ancestral home for their hotel complex.