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Court orders final forfeiture of properties ‘illegally acquired’ by Okorocha

Court orders final forfeiture of properties ‘illegally acquired’ by Okorocha
August 09
15:54 2021

An Owerri high court has ordered the final forfeiture of properties said to be acquired  through “illegal means” by Rochas Okorocha, ex-governor of Imo state.

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The forfeited properties are listed in the Imo state government white paper report on recovery of lands and other related matters.

In February, the court had ordered the interim forfeiture of all the properties linked to Okorocha.

The court had also asked Okorocha to show case as to why a final and absolute order of forfeiture should not be given following an application brought to it by Louis Alozie on behalf of the state.

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But the former Imo governor had asked a federal high court in Abuja to set aside the order.

Okorocha had also asked Ahmed Mohammed, the judge, to restrain the defendants from investigating him or implementing the recommendations of the panels set up to probe previous administrations in the state, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.

In his ruling, Fred Njemanze, the judge, said 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 Imo state government.

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The judge said the suit filed against the Imo government by Okorocha’s counsel was not properly handled and that there is no reason why the forfeiture should not be made final.

Njemanze said the white paper gazette by the Imo government is a legally-binding document.

He added that the Imo government can go ahead and do whatever it deems fit with the properties.

The judge also ruled that persons who might have purchased said properties are at liberty to approach the court to prove their titles.

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The properties include Eastern Palm University, Ogboko; Royal Spring Palm Hotels and Apartments; IBC staff quarters illegally acquired for the purpose of Rochas Foundation College, Owerri; magistrate quarters, Orlu road/cooperative office/Girls Guide illegally converted to private use housing market square, Kilimanjaro eatery; public building plot B/2 Otamiri South Extension Layout given to the ministry of women affairs for establishing a skills acquisition centre for women, illegally acquired for the benefit of Nneoma Nkechi Okorocha’s all-in stall, Aba road.

Others are Plot P5, Naze residential layout, initially part of primary school management board but now annexed to all-in stall, Aba road belonging to Nkechi Okorocha, and all the properties contained from pages 226 to 272 of the government white paper on the recommendation of the judicial commission of inquiry into land administration in Imo state from June 2006 to May 2019. 

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