Chief Rochas Okorocha,ex-Governor of Imo State

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The former governor of Imo State, Owelle Rochas Okorocha has for the upteemth time snubbed and totally disregarded summons from the Imo State Contract Review Committee probing the award of contracts between 2011 and 2019. During sitting on Thursday, Okorocha who had earlier promised to appear before panel reneged.

The commission was set up by the former governor, Emeka Ihedioha and was strengthened by Governor Hope Uzodinma, who asked it to continue its investigation by granting the request for extension of time.

The commission had on February 20th, 2020 invited the former governor to answer questions from the witness box about contracts awarded by his administration throughout his eight (8) years tenure but he consistently refused to appear before it. Instead the ex-governor through his counsel, C.A.N. Osondu stated that he was on a national assignment and requested that he be allowed to appear on March 5th, 2020.

At the resumed hearing on Thursday, Okorocha once more failed to appear before the panel and could not give any cognet reason for his absence.

Barr Osondu, who represented him told the Commission that he could not reach the former governor to know his reason for his absence. He further told the panel that he was informed by Okorocha’s son in-law, Uche Nwosu that the senator was on another national assignment in the North and therefore requested for an additional adjournment to enable his client appear at a later date.

The Commission’s Chairman, Justice Benjamin Iheka, who was not happy with Senator Okorocha’s continued absence, permitted his counsel to go outside and put a call across to Okorocha to find out if his national assignment means he would not be appearing before the commission.

But, after ten minutes, Osondu returned to court and disclosed that he was not able to reach Okorocha, a statement that attracted laughter.

Before adjourning the matter to Monday March 16, 2020, Justice Iheka said he decided to give Okorocha’s counsel the chance to confer with him so as to satisfy his conscience that he had been given fair hearing before their report will be written.

The chairman disclosed that the commission was not putting anyone on trial but was a fact finding one, “which cannot be used to undue anybody” or even witch-hunt the former governor or his aides.