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Court orders forfeiture of N1.5bn hospital allegedly linked to Okorocha’s ex-aide



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A former aide of former Governor Rochas Okorocha, Dr. Paschal Obi has lost a Dews of Hope Hospital, Owerri to the Federal Government, as a Federal High Court sitting in Owerri, on Friday ordered its final forfeiture.

Obi is believed to be the owner of the 200 bed state of the art hospital with adjoining staff quarters, and estimated to have been built at the cost of N1.5 billion

It will be recalled that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had on August 22, 2019, secured the interim forfeiture of the property from Justice A. Mohammed of the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt.

The application for interim forfeiture was triggered by evidence that the facility may have been acquired through proceeds of illicit activities as funds from Government House, Owerri, was traced to the hospital.

According to the EFCC, it’s investigation revealed that Dr Obi, former Permanent Secretary and Principal Secretary to then-governor Okorocha, now a serving member of the House of Representatives, was a signatory to the accounts.

However, Obi, like members of the board of the hospital, vehemently denied ownership of the medical facility.

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The managing director of the hospital, when invited, could not also explain how the hospital was funded.

These, according to a statement by the EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, led the anti-graft agency to file for the forfeiture of the property on July 25, 2019, under section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud, and Other Related Offences Act, 2006.

It said, “In granting the request for the interim forfeiture of the property, the court ordered the commission to publish the order in a national newspaper which was accordingly published in The Nation Newspaper of August 30, 2019 and Leadership Newspaper of September 3 respectively, asking interested parties to show cause why the property should not be forfeited to the Federal Government within 14 days from the dates of the publications.”

“Upon the expiration of the 14-day notice and with no one showing interest in the hospital, the commission filed for the final forfeiture of the facility,” the statement said.

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