A high court in Imo has ordered the interim forfeiture of all the properties said to be acquired through “illegal means” by Rochas Okorocha, a former governor of the state.
Fred Njemanze, the presiding judge, gave the order following an ex parte application filed by Louis Alozie, a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN).
In the main substantive suit marked HOW/191/2021, the attorney-general of Imo state had sued Okorocha, his wife, Nkechi, and incorporated trustees of Rochas Foundation.
In a motion ex parte brought pursuant to Section 472(1) of the Imo state administration of Criminal Justice Law No. 2 of 2020, Alozie prayed the court for an order of forfeiture on the grounds that the properties, which he said were for the public, “were converted to personal use by the first to third respondents (Okorocha, his wife, and the foundation) and their cronies for which the applicants now intends to recover them in line with the white paper by the judicial commission of inquiry’s report”.
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”.
The former governor was arrested on Sunday for unsealing a property seized by the Imo state government.
He was later released after the intervention of the south-east governors forum.