-Set to commence operation

A top notch hospital alleged to have been illegally acquired by Dr. Pascal Obi, erstwhile Principal Secretary to former Governor Rochas Okorocha which the former sometime ago, said does not belong to him, has advertized for the recruitment of staff, including Pharmacist, Accountant Secretary, Pharmacy Technicians, Cashier among others, despite frantic calls by Imolites that the ownership of the ultra modern health facility known as Dews of Hope Specialist Hospital Ltd, be ascertained.

The advertized vacancies which appeared on page 6 of the Announcer Express Newspaper of March 24, 2021, has kept tongues wagging amidst speculations that Pascal Obi, who now represents Ideato North and South federal constituency and is also Chairman, House Committee on Health at the lower chamber of the National Assembly has subtly pledged loyalty and allegiance to the Hope Uzodinma government in a bid to be shielded from government’s probing searchlight and subsequent seizure of his properties including the hospital in question.

A source who spoke to this reporter on condition of anonymity, said, “there are reports that Dr. Obi has used his position as a federal lawmaker to infiltrate and compromise some relevant agencies of government to ensure that some of his properties that are alleged to have been illegally acquired are not confiscated, despite overwhelming public outcry that all illegally acquired properties in the state are recovered.

The source also recalled that Dr. Obi was fingered in the monumental fraud involving Zigreat Construction Company Ltd, that was purportedly used for the construction of projects worth over N20b in the state.

It will be recalled that the Okorocha Rescue Mission administration awarded twelve contracts worth N20b to Zigreat Construction Company between November 15, 2013 and November 3, 2017 for the construction of Community Hospital, Ogboko at the cost of N683m, construction of the Ministry of Niger Delta office blocks at the cost of N611m, construction of the Ministry of Agriculture office blocks, at  N630m, construction of the Ministry of Tourism office blocks, N630m, construction of IMSU Campus at Onuimo, at N2.79b, and construction of Ministry of Sports office blocks, N690m. 

The said contracts were not completed before the end of the former governor’s tenure in 2019 and have been stagnant since, yet the contract sums were paid upfront”.

Some political pundits who commented on the latest development as regards the hospital alleged to have been illegally acquired by Pascal Obi said, “we don’t think that Governor Uzodinma who has vowed to recover all properties illegally acquired by past administrations, their cronies and proxies will renege on that vow, as that will not only be a disservice to Imo people but also tarnish the image of his government with attendant credibility question that will linger for a very long time.

They also said they are waiting for the panel on contracts awarded in the state between 2011 and 2019 to submit it’s report as recently announced by the Commissioner of Information and Strategy, Declan Emelumba.

It will be recalled that Pascal Obi had denied ownership of the Dews of Hope Specialist Hospital Limited, Owerri forfeited to the Federal government by a Federal High Court in Owerri.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had alleged that the hospital worth N1.5b was acquired with proceeds of corruption.

However, the federal lawmaker in a statement issued in Owerri  by his Senior Legislative aids, Peter Ezeala, said he was neither a Director of the hospital nor the proprietor.

The federal lawmaker averred that media reports which alleged that he owns the forfeited hospital are the handiwork of mischief makers who want to blackmail him alongside other aides of former governor Okorocha.

The statement further said, “we have delayed our response to the story to enable us to find out, first, how a matter that has been pending at the Federal High Court, Port-Harcourt in Suit No: FHC/PH/93/2019 suddenly landed in Owerri and was heard and determined without notice to the interested parties in Suit No: FHC/OW/CS/132/2019.

“Having made this point, we want to make these clarifications:

“That the suit concerning the Dews of Hope Specialist Hospital was filed by the EFCC at the Federal High Court, Port-Harcourt, in Suit No: FHC/PHC/MISC/93/209.

“That the owners of the hospital made applications and provided documents from the Corporate Affairs Commission showing that Dr. Paschal Obi is not the owner of the said hospital.

“That, based on the facts available to it, the EFCC filed a preliminary objection on 7/8/2019 challenging the competence of Dr. Paschal Obi in the matter, asserting that Dr. Paschal Obi is not a director in Dews of Hope Specialist Hospital and is not also the financier, owner and the promoter of the hospital”.