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Court rejects Okorocha’s plea to block EFCC, Imo govt from seizing his properties



Rochas Okorocha

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, on Wednesday, declined to grant a former Governor of Imo state, Rochas Okorocha an interim injunction to block the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Imo State government from seizing his properties.

Justice Ahmed Ramat Mohammed ruled that granting the order during various challenges to the court jurisdiction in the matter will not be in the interest of justice.

The former governor had complained that his properties have been marked in several states for confiscation adding that unless the preservative order was issued against EFCC and Imo State, he would be prejudiced.

However, the request was opposed by the EFCC and Imo State government on the ground that the court has no jurisdiction to hear Okorocha’s suit.

Justice Mohammed fixed August 24 to hear the challenge by EFCC and the Imo State government that the motion on notice filed by Okorocha cannot be heard during court vacation.

Meanwhile, a state High Court sitting in Owerri, had on Monday, ordered the final and absolute forfeiture of Royal Palm Springs Hotel and other properties belonging to Okorocha and other members of his family to the Imo State Government.

The properties to be forfeited were contained on pages 226 to 272 of the state government white paper report by the Judicial Commission of Enquiry on Recovery of Lands and other related matters, constituted by the former governor of the state, Emeka Ihedioha, who was unseated by the Supreme Court.

READ ALSO: Court orders final forfeiture of seized hotel, university, other properties linked to ex-gov, Okorocha

Justice Fred Njemanze, who was sitting as a vacation judge, ruled that Okorocha’s counsel failed to give concrete and verifiable reasons why a final and absolute forfeiture order should not be given in favour of the state government.

Also, the Justice noted that the suit filed against the Imo state Government by Okorocha’s counsel was not properly filed, describing it as a surplusage, a term in law, which means a useless statement completely irrelevant to a matter.

Okorocha had on the following day, Tuesday, reacted to the court verdict, accusing the presiding Judge, Justice Fred Njemanze, of ‘Bias’.

In a statement, signed by his media aide, Sam Onwuemeodo, Okorocha said Justice Njemanze must have been deceived into giving the Interim forfeiture Order over the properties, noting that cases on them have been ongoing in various courts of competent jurisdiction, since 2019 and 2020.

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