The Special Presidential Investigation Panel for Recovery of Public Property said it had arrested the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodinma, for alleged breach of a N4, 320, 000, 000 ($12m) contract for the dredging of Calabar channel.
Chairman of the panel, Mr. Obono Obla said the lawmaker who represents Owerri West senatorial district was arrested at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja on Sunday evening.
He said Uzodinma had been evading arrest for over one year following his (Uzodinma’s) failure to execute the contract.
“We have been looking for him for the past 13 months over a case of failure to execute a contract of $12m dollars awarded for the dredging of the Calabar channels awarded by the Nigeria Ports Authority.
“We have written countless letters to the clerk of the national assembly in accordance with their procedure. He has shunned all our invitations and he has been very evasive.
“We pasted our assets declaration form because the first procedure when we are investigating you is to give you our assets declaration form and within 30 days, you are required to fill and return them. If you fail to return them, then we can charge you to court. We have charged him to before the federal high court for failure to declare his assets. He has notice of our invitation. We pasted the asset declaration form in his residence in accordance with the law.
“This evening (Sunday), at about 8.20pm, operatives of the Special Presidential Investigation Panel For Recovery of Public Property at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport arrested the APC governorship candidate in Imo State, Hope Uzodinma, after disembarking from an Air Peace P47324 flight from Lagos.
“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 Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
Asked if the arrest has anything to do with the crisis rocking the Imo State chapter of the APC, Obono-Obla said the panel only did its job.
“It has nothing to do with politics. Why is it that each time we invite somebody, people will begin to read political meaning to it?” he asked.
“We have no business with what is happening in Imo state. We have been given a job to do and we have to do it. If he has issues, he should have taken steps to clear all those issues before vying for the election. We have no business with that. We have been asked to do something and we are doing it,” he added.