By Ejike Ejike |
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arrested a former Imo State governor, Senator Rochas Okorocha.
Confirming the arrest on Tuesday night, the head of media and publicity of the anti-graft agency, Wilson Uwujaren, said the Imo West Senator was arrested in Abuja.
Okorocha’s battle with the EFCC had began after his tenure as Imo governor ended in 2019 and the EFCC launched probes into his activities and alleged fraud.
Although, the EFCC would not say why Okorocha was arrested, LEADERSHIP, however, recall that recently a Federal High Court in Abuja had refused an application brought before it by Okorocha seeking to stop the EFCC from investigating him on alleged financial violations.
The Imo State government had set up a panel to review all financial transactions of the state during the eight-year administration of Okorocha.
On May 10, 2020, a committee said it uncovered N112.8 billion “dubious debts” owed the state by nine commercial banks.
The EFCC is also carrying out its own investigation and said it will prosecute the former governor.
On May 18, 2020, Okorocha filed a suit seeking an order to stop the respondents from probing “the purported financial infractions”.
He prayed the court to “direct the 1st defendant (EFCC) and the 3rd to the 10th defendants (the Imo state attorney-general (AG) and the Justice Iheaka-led probe panel on contract awards) to stay all further actions and proceedings until the 2nd defendant (the state AG) decides who should carry out the investigation.”
According to him, it was unconstitutional for the EFCC and the panel of inquiry to investigate him at the same time on the basis of the same facts.
Ruling on the applications, the judge, Ahmed Mohammed, refused Okorocha’s request for a restraining order.
Also, the ex-governor has been at loggerheads with his successor, Governor Hope Uzodinma, who has vowed to recover all “diverted” assets o the state.
It would also be recalled that the Imo State government had sealed the Spring Palm Estate linked to Okorocha’s wife, Nkechi and other properties it claimed to have been “diverted” by Okorocha and his family members but the senator has since said the properties were legitimately his own and that of his family members.
Okorocha later unsealed the properties, which led to his arrest by operatives of the Imo State police command in February.