Ohakim drags Imo govt to court over probe
BY CHIDI NKWOPARA
OWERRI — There are very strong signals that the immediate past governor of Imo State, Chief Ikedi Ohakim, has dragged the state government to an Owerri High Court over the institution of judicial panels to investigate his administration.
Vanguard gathered that already, a team of Senior Advocates of Nigeria, SAN, has been assembled to tackle the matter when it comes up in court this week.
The former governor is, among other prayers, urging the court to stop the judicial panels from continuing to probe his administration, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.
Vanguard recalls that before instituting the judicial panel of inquiry into the award of contracts between May 30, 2007 and May 29, 2011, Governor Rochas Okorocha had in different fora, alleged that his predecessor squandered N62 billion of public money.
While retired Justice Paul Onumajulu was named Chairman of the contract panel, Justices Goddy Anunihu and T. E. C. Chikeka were asked to critically probe the local government and autonomous communities respectively.
Although Okorocha explained that the essence of inaugurating the commissions was not to witch-hunt anybody in the state but rather to establish and bring back the lost glories of the state and traditional institution, observers in the state, however, insisted that the current development might be connected with the growing altercation between the governor and loyalists of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the state.
Justice Onumajulu was asked to identify all contracts awarded by or on behalf of Imo State government or its parastatals, agencies between May 30, 2007, and May 29, 2011, and ascertain the extent of work done, detect any payments in excess of work done, including kick backs in cash or kind to or received by individuals or organizations.
Anunihu’s panel was asked to identify all types of employees in the local government system, including temporary, casual, permanent staff, the method of recruitment of staff, staff structure, and staff strength of each local government in the state.