Okorocha: Court orders interim forfeiture of properties belonging to ex-governor

Justice Emeka Nwite of the federal high court Abuja Division, has ordered the interim forfeiture of two Abuja properties belonging to Rochas Okorocha, a former governor of Imo State.

The judge gave the order on Thursday upon an ex-parte motion brought before the court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC),

Mr Okorocha who is a current Senator was charged to court by the EFCC on a 17 count charge bordering on alleged conspiracy to steal public funds in the sum of N2.9 billion.

What happened in court

Ekele Iheanacho, EFCC’s lawyer, told the court that the ex-parte application marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/327/2020 was filed on March 6, 2020.

He said the motion was brought pursuant to Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud-related Offences Act14, 2006 and also because the court has the statutory powers under the law to grant the relief sought.

The application sought an interim order for the forfeiture of two properties belonging to Mr Okorocha to the Federal Government of Nigeria. The lawyer said the properties are suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities.

While accounting for how the properties were recovered in the affidavit in support of the application, Mr Ani Davies Stanley who is an operative of the EFCC said that on September 26, 2018, Mr Okorocha awarded a N620 million contract to De-origin Concept Limited for the renovation/maintenance of Imo Sate government house.

He said between October 31 and November 1, 2018, N427 million was transferred from the Imo State Treasury Project account to the contractor’s account.

He further said In September 2018, Sen. Okorocha had awarded a contract to Baranda Ventures Limited for the construction of a road that will link two bridges, Urualla, Obioha, Ogboke and Umumarsiaku.

The contractor was also to construct Owus Avenue Shopping Mall and Modern Building Materials Market in Oru.

He said between December 12 and May 2, 2019, N2.7billion was transferred from the state treasury project account to the contractor.

Mr Stanley said both contractors transferred funds to Abtisal Global Limited and Archivisual Solutions Limited for the development of a property belonging to Rochas Anayo Okorocha’s Company,

However, EFCC in a statement on Thursday said The commission found out during the investigation that “sometime in 2018, Abtisal Global Limited and Archivisual Solution Limited, companies in which Okorocha is believed to have interest, received N222, 000,000 from the Imo State Government’s treasury to develop and improve on the said property.”

The judge granted EFCC’s request and ordered the interim forfeiture of the properties.

He also directed the anti-graft agency to publish the interim order in any national newspaper for person(s) who have interest in the said properties to come forth and show cause within 14 days why the properties should not be forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

He adjourned the matter until April 13 for consideration of the motion for final forfeiture.

The properties belonging to Mr Okorocha ordered to be forfeited include Plots 1032 & 1033 Cadastral Zone, A03 Takum Close, Off Michika Street, Ahmadu Bello Way, Garki Abuja.

In case you missed it

Nairametrics had reported that EFCC announced that it had secured an interim forfeiture of two landed properties worth over N104 million belonging to Aminu Sidi Garunbaba, a staff of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).
Justice Obiora Egwuatu had also ordered the interim forfeiture of 10 properties belonging to the former Zamfara State Governor, Abdulaziz Yari.

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