The Special Presidential Investigation Panel for Recovery of Public Property has released the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress in Imo State, Hope Uzodinma, whom it arrested Sunday night over an allegation of failure to execute a contract of $12m for the dredging of Calabar channel for which he had been paid.
Responding to a Punch correspondent’s enquiry on Monday, the Chairman of the panel, Chief Okoi Obono-Obla, said Uzodinma, who was arrested on arrival at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja from Lagos Sunday night, had been released on bail.
Obono-Obla said the serving senator representing Imo-West was released on Sunday on “humanitarian grounds” on the condition that he would return to the panel for questioning on Monday.
Obono-Obla said, “This is the message from the Director of Operations of the Panel, DCP Tahir Usman, to me: ‘Good day sir, Hope Uzodimma called to apologise and said he would like to come tomorrow (Tuesday) due to his BP (Blood Pressure), Sir.’
“We released him on bail last night (Sunday) on humanitarian ground and asked him to report back today (Monday) at 10am.
“When he didn’t come, my operatives laid siege to his residence, then he pleaded with us to allow him see his doctor and report tomorrow (Tuesday).”
He added, “We are determined and unrelenting to get into the matter. The Calabar channel dredging project has been a conduit through which huge sums of money have been diverted.”
Obono-Obla had said on Sunday that Uzodinma was arrested over the senator company’s failure to execute a contract of $12m for the dredging of Calabar channel.
According to the panel’s chairman, the contract was awarded by Nigerian Ports Authority. Obono-Obla said Uzodinma had been evading arrest for about a year but was arrested at about 8.20pm at the Abuja airport while arriving from Lagos.
He said in the statement, “The panel is investigating economic sabotage against Senator Uzodinma arising out of the failure of his company to execute a contract of $12m for the dredging of Calabar channel awarded by the NPA.
“He has been evading all invitations of the Panel over one year.”