Justice Emeka Nwite of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Thursday, ordered an interim forfeiture of two properties in Abuja linked to former governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, to the Federal Government.
The judge gave the order following an ex-parte motion moved by counsel for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ekele Iheanacho.
He directed the EFCC to publish the order in a national daily for interested person(s) to show cause within 14 days why the final forfeiture order should not be made on the properties.
He adjourned the matter until April 13 for hearing.
Iheanacho had earlier told the court that he had an exparte application marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/327/2020 dated March 6, 2020, and filed the same day.
He said the motion, brought under Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and other fraud related offences Act, 2006, sought an interim order forfeiting the properties located at Plots 1032 & 1033 Cadastral Zone, A03 Takum Close, Off Michika Street, Ahmadu Bello Way, Garki Abuja.
The lawyer said that the properties recovered by the commission were reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities.
He said the EFCC also sought an order directing the publication of the interim order in any national newspaper for person(s) to show cause within 14 days why the final order of forfeiture of the property mentioned should not be made in favour of the federal government
Iheanacho said the commission brought the application on the grounds that the court had the statutory powers under the law to grant the reliefs sought, adding that the properties were reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities.
The EFCC had in another suit arraigned the former governor for alleged N2.9 billion in the same court.
The commission arraigned Okorocha and five others on a 17-count charge of fraud.
The EFCC accused the defendants of stealing the fund from the Imo State government’s coffers.
However, the anti-graft agency has been unsuccessful in its bid to serve the ex-governor with the charges.
The development stalled his arraignment in court on Monday.
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