By Chidi Nkwopara, OWERRI.
Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State has extended the tenure of the Investigative Panels and Judicial Commissions of Inquiry, set up by the Emeka Ihedioha administration, on contracts, land acquisition and others.
The Chairman of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry on Contracts Awarded from June 2011 to May 2019, Justice Benjamin Iheka, confirmed this development during an interview with newsmen in Owerri.
“The Governor, who announced the renewal of the mandate of all the investigative panels and judicial commissions of inquiry after meeting with the panellists, also explained that the decision was in keeping with his mantra of Rehabilitation, Reconstruction and Recovery”, Justice Iheka said.
He affirmed that “by the law, under which the Commissions and Panels were established, only a renewed mandate, which the Governor has now done, after our first three months, validates the lives of the Panels and Commissions.”
Answering a question on his Commission’s activities so far, Justice Iheka said: “We have finished taking evidence from all the petitioners/claimants and we have started inviting all government functionaries that played any part in the contracts awarded within the period under review. They are expected to start appearing before the Commission on Tuesday, February 11, 2020.”
Vanguard recalls that in renewing the mandates of the Panels and Commissions, Governor Uzodinma said: “I acknowledge that government is a continuum. This administration will not go into witch-hunting, rather, will continue from where the previous administration stopped particularly in areas that will impact positively on the living standard of Imo people.”
Notable among the Committees, whose mandates were renewed are: the Judicial Panel on Lands and Related Matters headed by Justice Ijeoma Ogugua, the Judicial Commission of Inquiry on Contracts Awarded from 2011 till date, headed by Justice Benjamin Iheka.
The others are the Visitation Panels for Imo State University, Teaching Hospital Orlu, Imo State Polytechnic Umuagwo, and the Committee for the Investigation of Local Government Administration from 2011-2019, headed by Chief Eze Duruiheoma, SAN, among others.
Governor Uzodinma charged the Committees to “continue with the good job you are doing for Imo State”, stressing that “In our little way, we shall encourage you to turn in an objective report that will meet the yearnings of the good people of Imo State.”