Hopes of Imo people to see former governor Rochas Okorocha who is presently representing Orlu zone at the Senate House and his son in-law the 2019 AA governorship candidate Ugwumba Uche Nwosu appear before the Judicial Panel of Inquiry set up by the Imo State Government on contracts awarded during his regime as governor spanning from 2011 to 2019 were dashed as both man failed to show.
The probe panel which is sitting at High Court Owerri had earlier adjourned the matter due to the inability of the star witnesses including former Rochas Okorocha and his son-in-law Uche Nwosu to appear before them.
Their legal counsel Barrister Osondu told the panel on Wednesday that his client (Okorocha) could not come to the court as expected because of the nationwide lockdown order, stating that the broadcast by President Muhammadu Buhari revealed that all state boundaries would be closed to observe the lockdown, stressing that flights in and out of the state were also put on hold.
Speaking to the panel, Osondu said, “as a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Okorocha is bound to respect the law and order. His position remain that inter- state lockdown is still in existence”.
The lawyer asked for another week to enable his client appear before him hoping that the lockdown order may be lifted by then. He assured that Okorocha will appear before the panel once the lockdown has been lifted.
He also said that he is only holding brief for the Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) who is the lead counsel and who will take over from where he stopped.
The probe panel considered his application and adjourned the matter till the 11th day of May 2020.
It could be recalled that the probe panel hasinvited the former governor for more than three times to appear before it even before the lockdown but former governor Rochas Okorocha has not deemed to deem it necessary to appear before the panel.
Okorocha had rather run to court to seek judicial procedure to stop the probe panel from inviting him.
Osondu who also stood in for Uche Nwosu also adopted the same approach he used with Okorocha using the lockdown order as excuse for Nwosu’s absence.
Uche Nwosu had been absent twice despite being invited by the panel.
The former Mayor of Orlu and commissioner under Rochas Okorocha’s administration, Ichie Best Mbanaso while testifying at the probe panel alleged that Uche Nwosu sold most of the shops at Orlu markets which warranted the invitation by the panel.