Group petitions EFCC over Okorocha’s N20bn contracts

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The Kingdom Human Rights Foundation International, a rights advocacy group, has asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to probe Rochas Okorocha, ex-governor of Imo state, over an alleged N20 billion fraud.

In a petition signed by Okere Nnamdi, its director, and addressed to the anti-graft agency, the group alleged that Okorocha directed one Eze Enwereaku and Duru Onyeobi to register a company named Zigreat International Company limited.

Okorocha reportedly awarded 12 contracts worth N20 billion to Zigreat International Company Limited between November 15, 2013, and November 3, 2017.

While the procurement act states that to bid for contracts, a company needs to present three years tax clearance, Zigreat company was awarded its first contract worth N700 million three months after it registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).

Most of the contracts awarded by Okorocha’s government to Zigreat company were not completed before he left office in 2019.

The petitioners said the company was registered on August 13, 2013, and has Enwereaku and Onyeobi listed as its directors and shareholders.

It further said Okorocha awarded “fake and over-inflated contracts to the company without due process”.

The petition reads: “The Former Governor Rochas Okorocha merely used the company to perfect his looting of Imo treasury by appointing/recommending who are the signatures to the company’s bank account and this made him in direct control of the finances paid into the company’s account through the award of fake and over inflated contracts.

“Within a period of six years, Zigreat International Company limited executed so many over inflated contracts which were not formerly bided and published in newspapers (due process) as required in the Procurement Act and thereby corruptly avoiding probity, accountability and transparency in the entire procurement processes.

“The entire contracts awarded to Zigreat International Company limited breached the law, by avoiding pricing standard that ensures fair competition, transparent, value for money in public sector procurement.

“Between 2013 to 2019 when Zigreat International Company limited was incorporated, the company was dubiously awarded the following contracts by the former governor.”

The group, therefore, asked the EFCC to investigate Okorocha, the company, and its directors.

“Please kindly investigate the actual cost of the contracts executed and recover the inflated resources/amounts paid to the contractor and pay the money back to Imo state treasury,” it said.

“Arrest and prosecute all person found to have taken part or benefited in these illegal and over inflated contracts by the Okorocha administration in Imo state.

“Our democracy is now under serious threat by the corrupt activities of politicians elected to serve the people at various levels. We believe strongly that the ongoing fight against corruption by the Buhari administration will not totally succeed, unless citizens begin to assist the government and join the fight to kill corruption before corruption kills Nigeria; and this is what we intend to achieve with this petition.”

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