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Okorocha’s absence stalls arraignment in ‘N5.7bn fraud’ case

Okorocha’s absence stalls arraignment in ‘N5.7bn fraud’ case
February 22
11:10 2022

A federal high court in Abuja has fixed March 28 for the arraignment of Rochas Okorocha, senator representing Imo west, over allegations of fraud.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on January 31, filed a 17-count charge against the former Imo governor before a federal high court in Abuja.

The charge against Okorocha came hours after he formally declared his intention to run for president.

According to the EFCC, the former Imo governor allegedly conspired with others, including a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and five companies, to steal N2.9 billion public funds.

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Aside from Okorocha, 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.

When the case was called on Tuesday, the former governor was not in court and he did not have any legal representation.

Cosmos Ugwu, EFCC counsel, told the court that he has been unable to serve court processes on Okorocha.

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“We have made several efforts to serve him with the charge but we have been unable to effect service,” he said.

Ugwu asked the court for an adjournment to enable him to effect service on the former governor.

All other defendants were present and had legal representation in court.

Inyang Ekwo, the judge, adjourned the matter to March 28 for arraignment.

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After the fresh charge was filed in court, Okorocha said he had visited President Muhammadu Buhari to seek his intervention over the action of the EFCC.

Stephen Pam, judge of a federal high court in Rivers state, had on February 8, reinstated his earlier order made on December 6, 2021, which asked the EFCC to stop the prosecution of Okorocha.

The court had also prohibited the EFCC from investigating or carrying out any other action against the former governor while asking the anti-graft agency to release his passport and any other travel documents.

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