Tuesday, August 9, 2022

EFCC arrests Rochas Okorocha

The arrest followed months of the former Imo state governor evading the commission and refusing to honour its invitations.

• May 24, 2022
Former Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha
Former Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha [Photo credit: BBC]

Agents of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have arrested former governor of Imo state, Rochas Okorocha, as a corruption lawsuit looms. 

On Tuesday afternoon, officers of the anti-graft agency and the Nigeria Police Force had surrounded Mr Okorocha’s Maitama residence in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, to effect his arrest.

In a statement signed by the agency’s spokesperson, Wilson Ujuwaren, the arrest followed months of Mr Okorocha evading the commission and refusing to honour invitations. 

“In the circumstances, the Commission is left with no option than to effect the arrest of Senator Okorocha and bring him to trial,” Mr Ujuwaren said. 

In January, the anti-graft body filed criminal charges against Mr Okorocha, accusing him of allegedly conspiring with a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and five companies, to steal N2.9 billion public funds.

Other defendants in the matter included Anyim Nyerere Chinenye, Naphtali International Limited, Perfect Finish Multi Projects Limited, Consolid Projects Consulting Limited, Pramif International Limited, and Legend World Concepts Limited.

The EFCC alleged that offences were carried out between October 2014 and February 2016, as the parties moved funds from the Imo State Government House account and Imo State Joint Local Government Project account, and diverted same into accounts of private firms.

In February, the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers state, ordered the anti-graft body to stop taking further actions against the former governor of Imo state, Rochas Okorocha. 

Mr Okorocha had in a visit to President Muhammadu Buhari, urged the president to prevail on the EFCC to obey court orders relating to his case. 

“I used this opportunity to intimate the president on what is going on between me and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the harassment, the intimidation I’m getting from the EFCC literally on a daily basis,” Mr Okorocha had told reporters after visiting Mr Buhari. “And to inform him that I have court judgements which stops the EFCC from harassing and intimidating me and all that. The EFCC has refused to obey the law.

The agency alerted the Abuja division of the Federal High Court that Mr Okorocha had been evading the service of the 17-count fraud charge it preferred against him and the aforementioned others.

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