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Alleged $12M Fraud: I was Never Arrested-Uzodinma

The Imo State All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate, Sen. Hope Uzodinma, has denied reports of his arrest.
Some sections of the media have reported that the Special Presidential Investigation Panel on Recovery of Public Property arrested the lawmaker on Sunday at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport Abuja.
The reports indicated that the chairman of the Panel, Okoi Obono-Obla, said Uzodinma was arrested for failure of his company to execute a contract of 12 million dollars for dredging of Calabar channel.
However, Uzodinma, who is also the Chairman, Senate Committee on Nigeria Customs Service, told newsmen in Abuja, that the reports may not be unconnected with his emergence as a governorship candidate.
He vowed to remain focused on the governorship race in spite of attempts to distract him.
He said he would not be distracted by people who were yet to come to terms with his emergence as the governorship candidate in state.
Uzodinma said: “I was never arrested. I also read it in papers like every other Nigerian.”
On the contract, the lawmaker said Niger Global, the company that was accused of the complicity, had only two percent share in the contract.
“Before I came to the senate, I came from the private sector. I was in oil and gas and marine operations. I operated Niger Global.
“In 2004 we participated in an international deal and Nigeria Ports Authority was looking for partners to manage the channels and we were lucky.
“We were one of the companies that formed the consortium to manage Calabar Channels.
“Calabar Channels Management Company is a joint venture being operated by the NPA. They have the major shareholders.
“They have 60 per cent shareholding and then the consortium of like six other companies had different shares.
“Niger Global had five per cent share and there is a five member board, where NPA has three and the consortium of companies two.
“Before I came to Senate, I was in the board and the technical partners to the consortium dredged the Calabar Channel under the supervision of the Calabar Management Board,” he said.
The lawmaker expressed surprise that the allegations were coming several years after the contract, adding that it was a clear case of witch hunt.
He further denied inducing the APC National Chairman, Mr Adams Oshiomhole, in order to be made the party’s flag bearer in Imo.
He called on the aggrieved persons and other stakeholders to work together to grow the country’s democracy.
He added that “some of us believe that this country must grow and we must be given the opportunity to contribute our own quota to national development.”
(NAN)

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