WHAT is the true identity of Governor Godson Ikedi Ohakim of Imo State?
Take one: New Face of Imo State? No. Take Two: New Rogue of Imo State? Addendum: Only the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, EFCC, and the court of law can establish whether Ohakim is a saint or devil.
Indeed only the Law court can judge between Ohakim and his traducers who have accused him of monumental fraud even as he bestrides the South-East chest-thumping his achievement as an action governor across the Niger.
This curious question is also knocking from all corners; Is Ohakim guilty or innocent of crunching the bone hung on his neck by unbridled looting of Imo State treasury?
No matter what Ohakim’s defence, the document on his alleged misdeed available to National Daily is damnable.
National Daily influence revealed that Governor Ikedi Ohakim is today a subject of investigation by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) following series of petitions forwarded to the commission’s office in Abuja accusing him of offences bothering on contract inflation and money laundering. Ohakim is said to have bilked Imo State of monies amounting to Billions of naira.
For instance Ohakim was accused of perpetuating fraud in the award off the N8 billion dredging of Nworie River.
The contact was said to have been awarded to Ruodo Nigeria Limited owned by Chief Tony Chukwu. He aligned with the Ohakim government to defraud Imo State of colossal sums through inflated contracts. The Ohakim-Chukwu dubious partnership was said to have started over two years ago and climaxed the in N8 billion Nworie River dredging contract awarded in March, 2009. It was learned that over 50 per cent of the contract sum has been already paid to Tony Chukwu as “mobilization”.
One knowledgeable source revealed that Ohakim awarded the Nworie River dredging contract during rainy season last year and about N4.5billion was paid to the contractors as mobilization fee. To quell the curiosity of critics, Ohakim claimed that the contract was in collaboration with the Niger Delta Development Fund.
The giant Arab Contractors was named as another construction company brought by the governor to swindle the people of Imo State. Arab Contractors are known within the Government House, Owerri to be involved in “syndicated business” or “Close circuit business”.
One of the petitioners Ikenna Samuelson Iwuoha, who is the Facilitator of SLAP Initiative, a non governmental organization alleges that the activities of this company are mainly to protect the interest of those giving them contract.
National Daily learned that a contract of N25 billion spanning 150 kilometres was allegedly awarded hurriedly to Arab Contractors, TK Engineering and Boly Construction Company in March 2009; implicitly the value of the Road Project per kilometer stands at N167 million.
National Daily intelligence accessed more list of contractors allegedly used as conduit pipe by the governor to allegedly siphon the state funds with reckless abandon.
Pinnacle Communications Limited tops the list. It was alleged that Ohakim used this company to defraud Imo State government of money running into hundreds of millions of naira. He was said to have secretly awarded the supply of IBC transmitter to Pinnacle Communications Limited on Friday November 9, 2007, at an alarming cost of N776.32 million.
But in an apparent defence of the over-inflated contract, the Ohakim-led government quickly fixed the date of the installment and the commissioning of the transmitters as May 29, 2008. However, investigation revealed that the transmitters arrived Owerri, the Imo State capital on Thursday June 5, 2008. Seven days after it was supposed to be commissioned and had problems of installation.
“They were ineffectively installed in September 2008 hence it refused to function until January 2009 when another unofficial sum of money was pumped into the project. Till this moment the transmitters are not functioning, especially the TV section, one clear year after it was supposed to have been commissioned,” Iwuoha stated.
As if that was not enough, Ohakim also allegedly used another contractor, Solid Foundation Construction Company owned by Prince Lemmy Akakem, the Okpataozuoha of Orji in Imo State. Ohakim has been accused of using Akakem’s company to loot the resources of Imo State through the award of over-inflated road contracts. All the road projects, National Daily learnt, are yet to be completed while some have been abandoned but full payments made to the alleged company. A case in point was the 15 kilometres road from the Standard Shoe Industry Road to Amulu Mbeiri in Mbaitolu Local Government Area, the contract was awarded to Solid Foundation Company at a whooping cost of N1.3 billion.
Analysts say the road was awarded on the average cost of N87 million per kilometer which they slammed as over bloated rate, intelligence showed that the alleged road contract was awarded in January 2008, full payment made, yet at the site work remains at the grading level. Other companies allegedly used by the Governor to milk the state include; New Ideas Construction Company and Lemmy Akakem Construction Company and Bauhuss Nigeria Limited, Bauhuss Nigeria Limited, was awarded a contract to build the Aladinma Shopping Plaza in Owerri. “They have been “doing” this job (contract) since 2007. When Ohakim came on board, he saw that he could make personal money from the project. So he asked the management of the company to inform members of the public to bid for shops in advance and pay non-refundable sums of money running into millions of naira collectively, the public started buying forms, paying for non-existent shops, thousands of Imo citizens paid these various sums of money. This scam happened in January 2008. After few weeks, the Ohakim leadership announced over the Radio and Television controlled by the State Government that the Aladinma Shopping Plaza has been completed. Also his leadership placed full page advert in the Champion Newspapers edition of 26/5/2008 and 27/5/2008 and in some pamphlets claiming that the Aladinma Shopping Plaza has been completed but in actual fact only a little percentage of work has been done,” Iwuoha stated in his petition.
Also on the list of questionable companies allegedly used by the Governor are Felmore Nigeria Limited and Zeerock Construction Company Limited. Felmore Nigeria Limited is owned by an Imo indigene that lives in an expensive mansion at Amakobia, off Orlu Road opposite Rapour Hotels Limited. He was said to have been awarded a contract to install solar street lights in Owerri, the state capital at an over-inflated cost running into hundreds of millions of naira. Full payments were made and the work was done but the “Solar” lights are not functioning while Zeerock Construction Company Limited is owned by Orji Uzor Kalu, the former Governor of Abia State. The General Manager Engr; our investigation established is one Rabia. A source hinted that as soon as Ikedi Ohakim came on board as governor, the company opened a workshop in an illegal place along Aladinma Hospital Road Owerri with the consent of the governor. The company it was gathered have received several contracts running into billions of naira in Imo State since June 2007, yet they have nothing to show for it. All the road contracts awarded to them including the project at Imo Airport (Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport), are in the parlous state.
Also discovered as one of the conduits pipe, is Amaifeke Construction Company allegedly owned by HRH Eze Okeke, a traditional ruler in Orlu zone. He allegedly receives inflated contracts, collects money but finds it difficult to executive the contracts. It was gathered that he was secretly summoned by the State House of Assembly for not executing road contracts awarded to his company despite having received payment over the project.
Coduc Construction Company Limited is also another pipe allegedly used by the authorities in Imo State to deny its citizens of their own share of the dividends of democracy. Coduc is “owned” by Ikedi Ohakim’s brother in-law, Mr. Chinedu Chukwuonye. The company is alleged to have no materials and equipment at initial beginning for most of their earlier constructions and was mostly hiring their equipment from Matrix West Africa Limited, Macol Construction Company Limited, and Hardel and Enic Construction Company Limited. But today and on the spur of the moment, Coduc has transformed itself into the biggest construction company in Imo State with “state of the art” equipment worth billions of naira.
Iwuoha alleges in his petition that Ohakim that Ohakim has a history of financial reckless dating to his days as commissioner for Environment in 1993 in the late Senator Evan Enwerem administration as governor of Imo State.
As National Daily veered through the voluminous document produced by Samuelson Iwuoha as evidence of Ohakim’s despicable corruption move questions leaped out for urgent answers:
Who was Godson Ikedi Ohakim before he became Governor of Imo State? Did his party, the Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA) and the Security Agencies thoroughly investigate Ohakim before he contested and won election as Imo State governor? Why did Ohakim suddenly abandoned his party, PPA, and pitched tent with the ruling PDP mid way into his first term in office.
The story of Godson Ikedi Ohakim seems intriguing and mysterious. It is a story which in the street parlance can be described as ‘the more you look, the less you see.’
What does Ikedi Ohakim have to do with Evan Enwerem? Ohakim allegedly stole a briefcase belonging to the former Senate President when he was governor of Imo State in 1993. The incident allegedly happened on October 26, 1993 when Enwerem was about boarding a plane to London. Ohakim allegedly exchanged Enwerem’s briefcase containing foreign currency with a replica at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos. Ohakim was the Commissioner for Commerce and Industry in Enwerem’s administration. On his return from London, Enwerem was about to sack Ohakim before late General Sani Abacha dismissed the civilian government.
Ohakim’s alleged criminal tendencies keep streaming like River Imo from where the state which he rules rather than govern derived its name.
National Daily intelligence scooped that the grand standing Ikedi Ohakim was the General Manager of a company owned by a multi-millionaire Businessman, Fidel Anujuo from Ideato Imo State. Ohakim allegedly looted Anujo’s company and was sacked by his angry boss. Anujo was said to have slapped Ohakim at Government Reservation Area (GRA), Ikeja, Lagos before sacking him.
This incident is said to have been confirmed by Chief Sam Ahanonu, Managing Director of Sam Industries Limited, Lagos in an interview with a local magazine, Newsbearer volume 10 No 4 February 23, 2009.
Another concerned citizen of Imo State Stephen Nwahiri also accused Ohakim of fraud and money laundering. He further frowned at the governor’s association with alleged ritual murderers and 419ners.
“…Ohakim appointed one of the notorious Otokoto ritualists, one Dominic Egbuchukwu alias Damaco, the initial head of Clean and Green Initiative.” Nwahiri said, and added.
“A certain special Adviser on special duties from Ohakim’s Mbano Area who has been an active fraudsters based in South Africa is responsible for Ohakim’s money laundering escapades his name is Chukwem Onuoha and does nothing but stashing money for Ohakim in overseas accounts, using his fraud connection.”
Petitioner Ikenna Samuelson Iwuoha further exposed the activities of Chukwu whom National Daily Intelligence gathered fell out with Ohakim when he allegedly disappeared with over N300 million meant to complete Ohakim’s Five Star Hotel in South Africa. The completion of the Hotel which was under Chikwem’s supervision was said to have become compelling as a result of the forthcoming 2010 world cup to be hosted by South Africa.
Here is Samuelson Iwuoha’s expose on Ohakim Chikwem financial sleaze and sexual piccadilos:
ACT I SCENE I: Mr. Chikwem Onuoha and Ikedi Ohakim met for the First time allegedly in 2005 when the Imo Transformation Initiative (ITI) was formed as a socio-political group whose aim and objectives was to stop and blackmail some prominent sons and daughters of Imo State from contesting elective posts come 2007. Along the line, when a renowned traditional ruler Late Eze Dr Zeb Philips Nwosu died in 2006, members of the ITI came together and agreed to make contributions which will be used to assist in giving the late traditional ruler a befitting burial. An alleged sum of N7.2 million was raised but Chief Ikedi Godson Ohakim made away with the money from Sheraton Hotel Lagos.
ACT 2 SCENE I: When the conspiracy to impose Chief Ikedi Godson Ohakim as the Governor was hatched by Professor Maurice Iwu, Olusegun Obasanjo and others, Chikwem Onuoha was one of the people who raised money for Ohakim which was used for political negotiations. Mr. Chikwem Onuoha allegedly raised the sum of N5 million for Ohakim. Although Mr. Chikwem Onuoha was not relatively rich as at that time, he raised the said sum through his contacts. Before this period Mr. Chikwem was just the usual “businessman”.
For the purpose of this write-up, I will avoid exposing the “aspect” of business he was involved in but he has contacts in South Africa. A country he visited for the first time in the year 2000 and stayed in the house of an Imo son for six months before he found his way. He has three wives. Two South African wives and one Ideato born wife, yet he is roughly 43 years. CHIKWEM is from Umuaro Osu in Isiala-Mbano LGA of IMO State.
ACT 2 SCENE 2:
After Chief Ikedi GOdson Ohakim was sworn-in as the Governor of Imo State on the 29th of May 2007, different positions were offered to Mr Chikwem Onuoha who rejected them all. He told Ohakim that he wanted a special post which will enable him to be on the “move” always. Chief Ikedi Godson Ohakim understood the “Format”, hence he offered Mr. Chikwem Onuoha the post of Special Assistant on “Special Duties”. That Chikwem Onuoha is powerful is an understatement. While Dr Ada Okwuonu is “just” a Deputy Governor, Professor Maurice Iwu is the “Assistant Governor” with Cosmas Iwu, his son-in-law, his daughter as his eyes in Ohakim leadership. But Mr. Chikwem Onuoha is viewed as the “Vice Governor” thereby making him a powerful man in Ohakim’s cabinet. Professor Maurice Iwu is the person protecting Chief Ikedi Ohakim from prosecution by EFCC, ICPC, Code of Conduct Bureau and the Force headquarters Abuja. In fact Professor Maurice Iwu’s Personal Assistant is the person doing media protection for Chief Ikedi Ohakim.
The Question now is what makes Chikwem Onuoha thick and powerful? Why is he always in South Africa, America, London, Dublin, Germany, Lagos, Abuja, Malaysia, China, Dubai? What really is his job as the Special Assistant on Special Duties?
ACT 2 SCENE 3: As far as Ikedi Ohakim and Chikwem Onuoha are concerned, the function of Special Assistant on Special Duties are as follows:
(A) Money Laundering
(B) Arranging and importing girls for the Governor.
(C) Buying personal properties for the Governor with State funds.
(D) And other Special supplies and contracts.
Let us now take these issues one after the other.
MONEY LAUNDERING: Mr. Chikwem Onuoha is the major conduit pipe through which Chief Ikedi Ohakim siphons Imo State funds and resources out of Nigeria. In simple form, Chikwem Onuoha does money laundering for Chief Ikedi Ohakim. The question now is what is money laundering? Money laundering as a criminal offense is the transfer of money obtained illegally to foreign banks, some businesses and other illegal means as to disguise its original source. An instance of this is to launder money with the disguise of looking for foreign investors to come to Imo State to establish the following:
1. The Oguta Wonderland
2. The Royal Oak Refinery
3. Mid-Western Airlines
4. The IRROMA Trucks and Caterpillars
The questions being asked are: (1) where are these projects? (2) Are they white elephants? (3) The IRROMA equipments launched on the 15th of November 2008, where are they today?
Currently, Chikwem Onuoha is building a 7 Star Superlative Hotel for Ikedi Ohakim in South Africa. This is $27 million Hotel Project in South Africa being built with Imo State funds, yet the masses are
hungry. The Hotel is 72 per cent completed in preparation for 2010 World Cup. Mr. Chikwem Onuoha has apart from the Hotel under serious construction bought so many several properties for Ikedi Ohakim in South Africa alone with State funds. However, human factor played a part later which made Chief Ikedi Ohakim to quarrel with Chikwem Onuoha. What is this human factor? When Mr. Chikwem Onuoha saw that he has bought several properties for Ikedi Ohakim using State funds and nothing really for himself, he decided to play a fast one on Ohakim when the next “runs” presents itself. This opportunity showed itself about eleven months ago when Chief Ikedi Ohakim gave Mr. Chikwem Onuoha the sum of N346 million for onward “movement” to South Africa for the on-going Hotel project. Chikwem Onuoha “died” the money but came back to Ohakim few days later to “complain” that he “lost” the money at the airport. On the spur of moment, Ohakim knew that Chikwem had outsmarted him. There and then Ohakim demanded from Chikwem Onuoha the documents for the other properties in South Africa. However, at this point Chikwem knew that once he gives Ohakim those documents that Ohakim would just drop him or even mess him up. So he decided to play the hardman. He refused to hand over the documents to Ohakim. In the process both men quarreled bitterly at Chikwem Onuoha’s house at off Dick-Tiger Street, Federal Housing Estate, Owerri. Thereafter Ohakim threatened to drop Mr. Chikwem Onuoha as his S/A on Special Duties. Chikwem Ohuoha on his own part challenged Ohakim to drop him and suffer the consequences. At that point Ohakim came to his senses and realized that he had been outwitted once again. As a hot head who talks and acts before he thinks he left Chikwem house in annoyance but returned the next day. This time around Ohakim was “sober”. He knelt down allegedly before Chikwem Onuoha in his house and begged him to let by-gone be by-gone and that “they are into this thing together”. Chikwem refused to listen to him. Chief Ikedi Ohakim also complained to Chikwem’s mother who was staying in the village.
Chikwem’s mother left the village and came to Owerri to talk to his son. She pleaded with Chikwem to release those documents to Ikedi Ohakim. Mr Chikwem still refused. Rather he gave conditions which includes (1) contracts (2) ownership of some of the properties in South Africa. Chief Ikedi Ohakim agreed and it was shared in the ratio of 7 is to 3. That is Ohakim 70 per cent while Chikwem 30 per cent. It was after these that the document were released accordingly. Today Mr. Chikwem Onuoha, Ikedi Ohakim and Chioma Ohakim are the three people supervising the Hotel project in South Africa.
ARRANGING GIRLS FOR THE GOVERNOR
As a Special Assistant on “Special Duties”, Mr Chikwem Onuoha imports girls from South Africa, London, Abuja with State funds for Ikedi Ohakim. For so many reasons I will not like to go in details. But if I am challenged to do so, then I will have to open the “Pandora box”. My concentration is on the fraud and money laundering aspect of this revelation.
Nonetheless it should be noted that Mr. Chikwem Onuoha is controlling and coordinating Mafia activities in Imo State Governments hence his residence at Off Dick-Tiger Street is always full of activities. Most of these activities are executed by his “trusted” driver Emmanuel who is from the Western part of Nigeria (yorubaland). If Chikwem is traveling to South Africa today, Emmanuel will go ahead to “wait” for him. If he is travelling to London now, this same Emmanuel will still go ahead to “wait” for him. The question is, why should an ordinary driver be given executive treatment?
The truth is that Emmanuel is the conduit through which Mr. Chikwem Onuoha “carries out” his assignment for Chief Ikedi Ohakim. Also Emma does some personal “runs” for Ikedi Ohakim directly. For his “efforts” he has been rewarded handsomely. He is a proud owner of so many plots of land in Owerri and Lagos. He is also allegedly building a two-storey building in Lagos State where his wife stays.
Chikwem’s Personal Assistant (PA) is one Mr. Okorie from Anambra State. His steward is from Calabar while his cook is from Akwa-Ibom. All the people working for him are not from Imo State. This is deliberate just to prevent betrayal and leaking of information. Again it should be noted that Mr. Chikwem Onuoha is protected and guarded as if he is the Governor of the State. He has five mobile policemen guarding his house. “An ordinary S/A indeed”.
AWARD OF CONTRACTS
After Ikedi Ohakim agreed to the demand of Chikwem Onuoha as per his conditions before he released those documents, Ikedi Ohakim gave him some road contracts. Some of the roads are located in Mbano axis. Infact, Ohakim signed the contract papers beside the swimming pool in Chikwem’s house in Owerri. The Governor also allegedly gave Chikwem the contract to supply Toyota Corolla cars to Imo Transport Company (I.T.C.).
It should be noted that Mr. Chikwem executed that supply through his younger brother named Uche. Because this his younger brother has a big head, he is called Uche Ishi-Ukwu. He supplied only about thirty (30) cars to ITC, where as full payment was paid for about one hundred cars (100). The question is where the remaining seventy (70) cars are.
Chikwem’s other younger brother has also benefited from the fraudulent windfall of this car supply scam. His name is Collins. He is a proud owner of Honda Saloon Car (End of Discussion) and lives in expensive hotels in Owerri, Port Harcourt, Lagos and Abuja, apart from his three bedroom apartment in Lagos. Uche Ishi-Ukwu is currently building a three storey building at No 65 Bode-Thomas Street, Surulere Lagos State.
Chikwem Onuoha on his part has several houses in Lagos, Abuja, Owerri, South-Africa. He is currently allegedly renovating his house at Victoria Garden City, Lagos at the cost of over N200 million. Not long ago in August 2009, a portion of his private house at Off Dick-Tiger Street, Owerri went in flames. He spent more than N20 million to fix the house and to replace burnt furniture.
Corruption is perhaps the greatest impediment to the development of Nigeria and some third world countries. In Nigeria for instance, billions of Naira a stolen regularly from the treasuring by Rogue public officers who were with her elected or appointed to serve the people’s interest.
It was therefore not surprising that Nigeria reportedly shipped in the 2009 Transparency International Corruption Perception Index. In the latest report the country dropped nine places to 130th position out of the 180 countries and placed 10th out of 16 West African countries. However, in the current report, Nigeria scored 2.5 out of possible 10 points emerged 27th out of the surveyed 27 nations in sub-saharan Africa, and 33rd out of the 53 countries in Africa.
Critics allege that the Ikedi Ohakim scandal is a bad showcase to President Umaru Yar’Adua’s much taunted anti-corruption crusade and an evidence to adduce before Transparency International that Nigeria is bus stops away from the drycleaners shop.
Petitioner Samuelson Iwuoha, the whistle blower told National Daily that in other to stop him from exposing the financial scam going on in Imo State attempt the financial scam going on in Imo State attempt is being made on his life and members of the family especially after the Imo State House of Assembly constituted a panel to probe the allegation he and a social commentator, Maximum Uba raised against governor Ohakim.
“I have written a threat to life letter to the office of the Inspector-General of Police with copies to relevant Agencies and organizations including media organizations and prominent Nigerians” Iwuoha said.
In a petition to the EFCC dated September 26, 2009, Iwuoha accused the panel (Adhoc Committee on corrupt practices) of working to cover up the governor by adjourning the sitting of the panel sine die without inviting him to give Evidence and present document to support his allegation.
National Daily gathered that more can of stinking allegation have been promised by Governor Ikedi Ohakim’s traducers.
Attempts by National Daily to get the Imo State Governor’s side of the story proved abortive as Mr. henry Ekpe, the Governor’s Chief Press Secretary (CPS) refused to answer several calls to his MTN GSM line. He, equally, did not bother to respond to the short message service (SMS) sent to his mobile handset.