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Okorocha shuns Uzodinma as he commences renovation on seized property

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Approaches court to halt probe of allegations

Following mind boggling reports of monumental fraud, gluttonous and forceful acquisition of property by former Governor Rochas Okorocha and his family, and the determination of Imo State government to address the situation and ensure that justice prevails, by setting up panels to probe and investigate the numerous allegations against Okorocha in his eight (8) year tenure, the former Governor, has gone to court to stop the panels from performing their assigned duties, with a view to evade justice and attendant restitution.

Senator Okorocha, in Suit NO:FHC/ABJ/538/2020, instituted at the Federal High Court, Abuja, dragged Justice B.C Iheaka’s panel on Contract Awards, Justice Florence Duruoha Igwe’s panel on Lands and Related Matters, Chief R.C.O Ezeogu’s panel on ISOPADEC, Prof Jude Njoku’s panel on Tertiary Institutions, Dr Abraham Nwankwo’s panel on Financial Transactions and Justice Eze Duruiheoma’s panel on Local Governments to court on the grounds that, since the financial irregularities leveled against him while in office as Governor of Imo State between May 2011 and May 2019, have been reported to and are presently being investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), it is therefore unlawful, illegal, null and void for the Attorney General who initiated and formally reported the matters to EFCC to set up panels to investigate the same offences he had reported to EFCC, when the later has neither concluded investigation nor issued a report on their findings”.

Also joined in the suit are the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Imo State Attorney General, and Commissioner for Justice and members of the seven committees/commissions of enquiry.

In a writ of summons dated 18th May, 2020, signed by the Court Registrar, the defendants were urged to cause appearance to be entered for them, within 30 days from the day of service of the summons on them, or the plaintiff will enter action and judgement may be given in their absence.

Senator Okorocha in the suit, endorsed by his team of lawyers, A.O Maduabuchi (SAN), Chijioke Dike Esq, Evelyn Joseph Esq, Timothy Chibueze Okoli, C.P Madu, Judith Livinus of 14 Aba Close, off Lokoja Street, by Ogbonna Street by Union Bank Plc, Area 8, Garki Abuja or C/o C.A.N Osondu and Associates (Ebube Dike Chambers), 97 Port Harcourt road, is praying for a declaration of court, that, having reported his alleged financial improprieties while in office, to the first defendant, the EFCC and since the latter has commenced investigation which is still ongoing, it is unlawful, illegal, null and void for the second defendant, the Imo State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, who lodge the report to the EFCC to set up panels to further investigate the allegations, he had already brought to the notice of the later.

He also prays for a declaration that by setting up the probe panels, the Imo state government is looking for facts that will impede EFCC investigation, hence the later should halt further investigation, till the probe panels conclude their assignments before the EFCC can now continue with their investigation. An order of court that, “subjecting the plaintiff to simultaneous investigations by the EFCC, and the various probe panels for the same offences is unconstitutional and against the spirit of double jeopardy”.

Senator Okorocha, also seeks an order directing the EFCC, the Justice R.C.O Ezeogu Commission on ISOPADEC and the 4th to the 10th defendants to stay further action on all issues at stake, until the Attorney General who is the 2nd defendant, decides who should carry out the investigation.

However, there are indications that the former Governor seems to be overwhelmingly confident that he will have his way at all cost, as he has commenced renovation on some of the properties that are subjects of investigation by EFCC, and the various probe panels set up by the short-lived Emeka Ihedioha administration and inherited by the Hope Uzodinma government. Our reporter who visited Royal Spring hotel and Rochas Foundation College, among others, said to have been fraudulently built or acquired with public funds, at the expense of deprived and exploited Imo people, who were subjected to unmitigated suffering and hardship due to non-payment of salaries and pensions.

A source close to the former Governor, who pleaded anonymity, quoted the Governor, as having boasted that, “he will stop at nothing and is ready to spend any amount of money, to ensure that none of his allegedly ill-gotten property is taken over by Governor Uzodinma or the state government, including the Eastern Palm University, that has from inception generated much controversy, in view of how it was initially conceived and the sudden change of name from Imo European University, wholly owned by the state government to Eastern Palm University, where Imo state government now owns a paltry ten percent share.

Speculations are rife among Imo people at home and in the diaspora, that for Senator Okorocha to have started renovating most of the properties that were abandoned and overgrown by weed, means that “he is now sure of or has perfected plans to make good his boast of not leaving any stone unturned, in his bid to hold onto and still be fully in possession of all the property acquired at the expense of Imo people. However, only time will tell”, they lamented.   

When our reporter visited the Royal Spring Hotel located along Akachi Road, Owerri it was discovered that the Estate-like Hotel is being repainted

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