The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has confirmed the recovery Constituency Project items worth N117,123,375.44 million from the Senator representing Enugu North Senatorial District, Sen. Chukwuka Utazi.
The commission said it has impounded the items sealed off the Senator’s compound.
Utazi, who was a former chairman of the Senate Committee on Anti-corruption and Financial Crimes, was alleged to have warehoused 203 grinding machines, 60 motorcycles, five transformers, 168 and 51 numbers of motorcycles and tricycles.
The Senator, however, said he wanted to distribute the items during the National Assembly annual vacation for effective supervision.
ICPC claimed that the contract for the procurement of the items was awarded on 23rd January 2018, under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as part of the Senator’s constituency projects.
The lifespan of the 8th Senate, when the items were procured, expired on June 5 this year.
A statement by the spokesperson of ICPC, Mrs Rasheedat A. Okoduwa, said the items were recovered as part of the ongoing effort at ensuring the satisfactory execution and completion of all Constituency Projects across the country.
The recovery nationwide is being done through the Constituency Projects Tracking Group (CPTG) initiative.
The statement said: “The items covered by this amount and recovered from the legislator are 168 and 51 numbers of motorcycles and tricycles respectively. They were discovered to be stashed away in a compound in Mkpologu town of Uzo-Nwani Local Government Area, believed to be owned by the Senator.
“ICPC findings indicated clearly that the contract for the procurement of the items was awarded on 23rd January 2018, under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as part of the Senator’s constituency projects.
“Investigations have also shown that the companies awarded the contracts for the project are as follows: Al-Amir Int. Ltd., Du-Lumac Ltd., Com Technologies System Ltd. and Chumax Agency Ltd.
“Additionally, ICPC recovered 203 grinding machines, 60 motorcycles and 5 transformers in the compound which had been procured under another constituency project.
“Thereupon the Commission impounded all the items and sealed the Senator’s compound.
“The tricycles, motorcycles and grinding machines were meant to be distributed to the lawmaker’s constituents to empower them as part of the Federal Government’s efforts to alleviate poverty.
“The Senator has pledged to ICPC that they would be distributed to beneficiaries on Tuesday 6th August 2019.
“While ICPC is investigating circumstances that led to the items being in the possession of the sponsoring legislator rather than the implementing agency, its officers will be on the scene to supervise the distribution.
But Sen. Utazi said he purposely wanted to distribute the items during National Assembly annual vacation.
He said he will distribute the items as from Tuesday.
He said he could not distribute the items during the election period to avoid bring accused of inducement of voters.
He said items were supplied by the Federal Government before the election.
Utazi said: “I showed them materials for the empowerment including 51 tricycles, 208 motorcycles, 212 grinding machines and five electricity transformers.
“They expressed happiness that the materials supplied by the Federal Government for senatorial empowerment in my district are all intact and I informed them I will start the distribution next week.
“ICPC routine checks on project empowerment materials are for all federal lawmakers not for me alone.
“Some journalists should try to investigate first before publishing, those that published that story did not even care to call me to verify the information they received.
“As a Christian, I hand over to God everything about my life as well as those who accuse me falsely so as to blackmail me.
“The source of the information that my house in the village has been sealed by ICPC has evil intention to tarnish my image.
“I purposely want to distribute them during National Assembly annual vacation to enable me to supervise the distributions as well as to ensure that the right people benefited.
“By next Tuesday, I will start the distribution of the materials in Igboeze-South and Igboeze-North council areas, Wednesday will be for Udenu LG, Thursday Nsukka LG then Friday will be for Igboetiti LG while Uzowani LG will be on Monday, August 12.”