Senator Rochas Okorocha on Thursday snubbed the Judicial Commission of Inquiry Into Contracts Awarded in Imo State between June 2011- May – 2019, when he was the governor of the state.
The commission was set up by the former governor, Emeka Ihedioha and was strengthened by Governor Hope Uzodinma, who demanded that the investigation must continue.
The commission had on February 20th, 2020 invited the former governor to answer questions from the witness box about contracts awarded by his administration.
But, the ex-governor through his counsel, C.A.N. Osondu stated that he was on a national assignment and requested that he be allowed to appear on March 5th, 2020.
However, at a resumed hearing on Thursday, Okorocha failed to appear before the panel and could not give any reason for his absence.
His lawyer, Osondu, told the commission that he could not reach the former governor to know his reason for his absence.
Osondu, however, told the panel that he was informed by Okorocha’s son-in-law, Uche Nwosu that the senator was on another national assignment in the North and therefore requested for an additional adjournment to enable his client appear at a later date.
The Commission’s Chairman, Justice Benjamin Iheka, who was not happy with Senator Okorocha’s absence, permitted his counsel to go outside and put a call across to Okorocha to find out if his national assignment means he would not be appearing before the commission.
But, after ten minutes, Osondu returned back to court and disclosed that he was not able to reach Okorocha.
Before adjourning the matter to Monday, March 16, 2020, Justice Iheka said he decided to give Okorocha’s counsel the chance to confer with him so as to satisfy his conscience that he had been fair to all.
The chairman disclosed that the commission was not putting anyone on trial but was a fact-finding one, “which cannot be used to undue anybody”.