Former Imo State governor, Senator Rochas Okorocha was on Monday arraigned before a Federal High Court in Abuja, over allegation of fraud.
The former governor pleaded not guilty to the alleged N2.9bn corruption charges brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
According to the 17-count charges, Okorocha was accused of diverting N2.9bn from Imo State Government House accounts and that of Imo State Local Government Joint Account to private companies.
The alleged fraud was said to be perpetrated by Okorocha and one Anyim Inyerere with the use of their private companies between 2014 and 2016 when he held sway as the executive governor of Imo State.
Though he denied all the charges, Okorocha has, however, engaged the services of four Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) comprising Okey Amaechi, Solomon Umor, Ola Olanipekun and Kehinde Ogunwumiju, to defend him from the allegations against him.
Shortly after the taking his plea, EFCC counsel, Gbolahan Latona, asked the Judge for an adjournment to enable him assemble his witnesses that will testify during trial.
He informed the court that 15 witnesses have been arranged to testify against the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential aspirant and that most of the witnesses are outside the court jurisdiction because of the peculiar nature of the charge.
Okorocha’s counsel, Okey Amaechi, told the court that he had filed application for bail of his client and had also served same on EFCC.
He attempted to argue the application but was opposed by the anti-graft agency which claimed that it intends to file a counter-affidavit against the bail application.
Although, the EFCC’S lawyer sought adjournment to June 1, 2022 for arguments on bail, Justice Ekwo ruled that he would take all the bail applications on May 31 and directed EFCC to endeavour to file its opposition within time.
Justice Inyang Ekwo subsequently ordered Okorocha’s further detention at the EFCC till May 31 when his bail application would be argued.