GELE AGBAI, Owerri
Imo State Government has said that it will not rescind the termination of contract for the reconstruction of Orie Okporo Market in Orlu Local Government Area of the state.
The immediate past administration of Senator Rochas Okorocha had awarded the contract to Mr. Valentino Chinedu Ugbala of Valentino Da Vinci Limited but later revoked the contract for alleged breach of terms of the contract.
The state Commissioner for Commerce, Simon Ebegbulem, who announced the upholding of the revocation order, disclosed that the government was in receipt of several petitions against Mr. Ugbala.
According to Ebegbulem, after reviewing the several petitions from the three host communities of the market against Valentino Da Vinci, the ministry decided to adopt the earlier termination of the developer’s contract.
Ebegbulem said: “Majority of those petitions centred on Valentino’s forceful and illegal takeover of the market and people’s private land outside the scope of the market he was asked to develop as well as intimidation and harassment of the traders.
“Some of them are already in court. Valentine C. Ugbala in connivance with some past government officials discarded an earlier agreement he had with state government to pay a total sum of N28 million as IGR to the state, but instead entered into another one in which the state government received nothing, which authorized him to manage the market for 15 years on completion
“Some of the breaches of the MOU dated 23rd July, 2018 include; the developer procured Certificate of Occupancy (C of Os) of all the shops in the market in his own name and thereby accusing the former governor Okorocha of signing the C of Os which he used to defraud traders to the tune of N400,000.00 for each shop, while only N1,350.00 was paid into State Government’s coffers for each C of O as IGR.