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Court threatens to dismiss N2.9bn fraud charges against Okorocha

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Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Monday, threatened to strike out the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)’s case against former Imo State governor, Rochas Okorocha, over the commission’s inability to serve the defendant with the charges.

The judge gave the warning following a complaint by the EFCC counsel, Cosmas Ugwu, that all efforts by the agency to effect service of court processes on Okorocha had been unsuccessful.

The commission filed a 17-count charge of fraud and money laundering against the Imo West senator and six others in February.

Other defendants are – 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 accused the defendants of stealing N2.9billion belonging to the Imo State government.

Justice Ekwo had on February 22, adjourned the arraignment of the defendants till March 28 over the inability of the anti-graft agency to serve Okorocha with the charges.

READ ALSO: Imo Gov, Uzodinma, begs Okorocha for forgiveness, after years of bad blood

But when the matter was called on Monday, Ugwu informed the court that the matter had been slated for arraignment of the defendants.

He, however, said the first defendant was yet to be served with the charge.

The counsel said several efforts made to effect the service so that all the defendants could be charged together were unsuccessful.

“In view of this, we plead with my lord to graciously accommodate us with an adjournment,” he said.

Justice Ekwo reminded Ugwu that he gave the same excuse when the matter came up for hearing on February 22.

He said: “One month plus you are still coming to say you are yet to serve the defendant with the charges.

“This will be the last time this matter will be adjourned.”

He then adjourned the matter till May 30.

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