The Judicial Commission of Enquiry on Contracts, set up by the Imo state government has uncovered contract scams worth N106billion.
The phantom contracts were awarded between 2006 and 2019, covering the period the state was governed by Governors Achike Udenwa, Ikedi Ohakim and Rochas Okorocha and Emeka Ihedioha.
Justice Benjamin Iheaka, who headed the panel submitted its report to Governor Hope Uzodimma on Monday, recommending that those who played key roles in the contract scams be made to return the money to the government.
Iheaka said: “There were monumental fraud that were orchestrated by the contractors in the period under review with strong collusion with some civil servants who helped in the fraud which was evidenced in over-pricing of the value of the contracts executed in the State.”
The panel’s report also said that there was fragrant disregard for due process and the rules of Bureau for Public Procurement Act in the Imo State which was exhibited in “outrageous contract pricing and shady contract executions as well as payment for non performing contracts.”
Justice Iheaka also said there were evidences of non-existing and phoney companies that were used to siphon State Government funds to the tone of N106billion.
The Chairman therefore appealed to the Governor not to sweep the report and recommendations under the carpet, but to do whatever is in his power to ensure that those indicted are made to return the monies.
Governor Uzodimma assured that all those indicted and identified in the report as having played a role in frittering away public funds through criminal ways will be made to return the money.
He said the opportunity will be given to them to return the monies as the state is in dire need of funds to deal with pressing developmental issues in the face of dwindling resources.
The Governor assured that in few days government will set-up a Review Committee that will look at the documents submitted by the Commission and produce a White paper that will give Government the actual direction to follow in implementing the report in full.
Present at the submission were the Chief of Staff, Government House, Barr. Nnamdi Anyaehie, some members of the expanded executive council, and other government appointees.
All members of the Commission, including the Secretary, Dame Comfort Obi were in attendance.