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EFCC seals off Okorocha’s property in Imo

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC),  yesterday, sealed off some properties owned by the  immediate past governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, his wife and daughters.

Some of the sealed properties were multi-million naira  upscale All in one supermarket and furniture showroom, located at Aba Road and owned by Mrs. Nkechi Okorocha; the Rochas Foundation College, built on the premises of the Imo State Broadcasting Service; East High Schools owned by the first daughter of Rochas Okorocha  and wife of Uche Nwosu;  the  Hive at Ugwu Orji owned by Uju Okorocha, Eastern Palm University, Ogboko, owned by Okorocha, and Royal Palm Spring Suites within the multi-billion naira Royal Estate Palm Estate at Akachi Road, owned by Okorocha’s wife.

Speaking through his Special Adviser on Media, Sam Onwuemeodo, the former governor said the officials stormed the premises on Tuesday, at about 6am, with a van loaded with armed military and mobile policemen, saying, “the action of EFCC with the presence of heavily armed military and police mobile personnel frightened the students and most of them began to cry. It was a sympathetic scenario.”

He said a letter of invitation marked CR:3000/EFCC/ENG/CSS/STF/Vol.01/167 dated July 22 addreesed to “The Principal, East High School, did nopt get to him.

“The EFCC letter was dated Tuesday July 22, 2019 and by 6am on Wednesday July 23, 2019 they had taken action,’ he said.

Okorocha accused the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) of instigating the sealing of the properties.

“What is obvious is that the PDP government in the state with Chief Emeka Ihedioha as governor and all the PDP chieftains who felt politically displaced from 2011 to 2019 by Okorocha had come together to launch war against him and his family. And that was why they needed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to declare their candidate winner even when he didn’t meet the requirement.

“Unfortunately, they have instigated certain agencies like EFCC into taking some hasty actions following flood of petitions by them.  Our concern about the action of the EFCC is the approach. There was no prior invitation to the management or proprietors of the colleges and other establishments sealed by the commission as expected before such action.

“To the best of our knowledge too, these colleges have not been under the investigation of the commission. We have had the feeling that the sealing of the colleges or any other structure as the case maybe, would have been based on the outcome of their investigation, in which the managements or the proprietors would have also been interrogated.

“Sealing off of the colleges and other properties because they belong to Okorocha’s family before investigation is what is difficult for us to comprehend, especially when most of these establishments had preceded the governorship of Okorocha.”

Further, he explained that the Rochas Foundation Colleges have existed in Imo and in several states of the federation including Plateau, Kano, Sokoto, Kaduna, Oyo, Bauchi and so on, years before he became governor in 2011.

He wondered why the EFCC had not gone to other states to seal off the schools.

“What is happening in Imo at the moment is not governance. It is a total war against Okorocha and his family, APC members, members of other parties and opponents. They said they want to make the state uncomfortable for opponents and they are doing it with recklessness.

“It should also not be forgotten that there is a subsisting court order to this effect. And we believe that the commission’s office in Enugu is aware of the court order in question as it concerns the commission and Okorocha’s investments. The EFCC is a highly responsible institution and our appeal is that it should not be incited against Okorocha and family and should equally take cognisance of the court order in question.”

Meanwhile, Governor Ihedioha has debunked the allegation that he masterminded the sealing off of his college and that of his daughters.

In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Chibuike Onyeukwu, he pointed out that the present administration was based on rule of law and due process, and cannot engage in any war with the former governor and his family.

He recalled that Ihedioha had on assumption of office set up committees to look into various actions undertaken in the past.

“For emphasis, this administration is founded on the respect for rule of law and due process and therefore, would not stealthily petition or engage in a clandestine war against the former governor and his family. Governor Ihedioha has since set up committees that are looking into the various actions undertaken by the past administration.

“It is also necessary to remind that the EFCC had, before the inauguration of this administration, begun a probe of the former governor over issues of misappropriation of the state’s funds, including bailout funds, Paris Club Refund, local government fund and other financial crimes.

“It is also on record that the commission had made public the freezing of a bank account, with a balance of over N5 billion, operated by the past administration as a result of fraudulent activities. Could Governor Ihedioha have influenced this action?”  Ihedioha asked.

He, however, advised Okorocha to help the commission in its investigations, rather than diverting attention from his probe.

- Sun

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