By Anselem Anokwute
The Imo State Judicial Panel of Enquiry on award of Capital Projects in Imo State from 2011 to 2019 has exonerated the former Works Commissioner, Hon Mrs Josephine Udorji, of any form of misappropriation and scandal arising from award of contracts during the periods she served under Governor Rochas Okorocha.
Hon Mrs Udorji while appearing before the judicial panel on Wednesday, April 1, 2020, disclosed that the former Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha in his bid to ensure quick delivery of capital projects in Imo State created a management committee headed by the former Principal Secretary, Dr Paschal Obi to handle awards of such projects and instructed the Ministry of Works to supervise the projects to ensure compliance and speedy delivery.
According to her, the Ministry of Works under her watch only concentrated in the widely publicized “Imo Operation Zero Potholes on our roads” which Imo people could testify that the Ministry of Works was on ground patching and maintaining roads both at the urban and rural community levels.
Hon Mrs Udorji also told the panel that her Ministry had fortified engineers who are still capable to move the state capital projects forward but have to work in accordance with the then Governor’s directives who created Imo State Capital City Management Committee to douse the over lapping due process procedures.
She maintained that the Ministry of Works under her watch never awarded contracts and also was not involved in the committee but owned it up because any capital projects in the state will be credited to the Ministry of Works. The truth of the matter according to her testimony was that the Ministry never advertized, bidded and opened any tender to contractors as well had no knowledge of any contractor involved in the execution of the said capital projects in the state. She referred the panelists to Dr Paschal Obi’s Capital City Management Committee which functioned as the states tenders boards in the award and execution of capital projects.
At the end of the day the Imo State Judiciary Panel of Enquiry after much drilling and enquiries from Chief (Mrs) Josephine Udorji, went further to get much clarification on the political profile of Hon Mrs Udorji, who had served Imo State government in various capacities, one as an Imo State Independent Electoral Commissioner II, under Chief Achike Udenwa, ex-Governor Ikedi Ohakim having observed her political exploits and ingenuity upgraded her to ISEC Commissioner I, while Okorocha in the first instance gave her Ideato North Transition Committee Chairman before her ultimate appointment as State Commissioner for Works from 2015 to 2019. Having given the panel her concrete evidences to prove that no contract scandals were perpetrated under her, she was discharged, given a clean bill of health with much accolades.