Alleged fraud: Court adjourns Okorocha’s preliminary objection for ruling
A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Friday, adjourned an application filed by former Governor of Imo, Rochas Okorocha, until February 6 for a ruling.
Justice Inyang Ekwo fixed the date after counsel to the parties adopted their processes and presented their arguments for and against Okorocha’s preliminary objection.
Mr Okorocha, in a motion on notice, marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/28/22 dated and filed on October 28, had prayed for an order quashing the charge and/or all counts of the charge preferred against him as a result of the investigation by the EFCC into his activities while in office as governor of Imo between 2011 and 2019.
Mr Okorocha, who currently represents Imo West Senatorial District, described the suit as being “unlawful, baseless, oppressive and a gross abuse of the process of the court.”
He said that the investigation “on which the said charge was predicated, was the subject matter of suit number: FCH/PH/FHR/165/2021 wherein this Hon. Court, Coram Pam, J. had, in the final judgment at the suit of the applicant declared unlawful and made an order prohibiting the EFCC from further proceeding.”
But the EFCC, in its counter affidavit dated and filed on November 18, said it had seen and read through Mr Okorocha’s motion dated October 28, that “the depositions therein are grossly misleading and untrue particularly paragraphs 3 and 4.”
The anti-corruption agency urged the court to dismiss the application for lacking merit.
Upon resumed hearing in the matter, Okorochas’ lawyer, Ola Olanipekun SAN, prayed the court to grant the application and quash the 17-count charge preferred against his client
The EFCC’s lawyer, K. N. Ugwu, who disagreed with Olanipekun’s submission, urged the court to dismiss the motion in its entirety.
Similarly, Darlington Ozurumba, representing Consolid Projects Consulting Ltd (5th defendant), also adopted his motion on notice, seeking the order dismissing the charge against the company.
He urged the court to quash and dismiss the entire suit for being an abuse of the court process.
In opposition to the application, Ugwu told the court that the 5th defendant cannot benefit from a judgment it was not part of, urging the court to discountenance his argument.
Justice Ekwo had, on Wednesday, fixed today for the hearing of the preliminary objection filed by the lawmaker.
Mr Okorocha, who is the 1st defendant, was arraigned alongside Anyim Nyerere Chinenye, Naphtali International Limited, Perfect Finish Multi Projects Limited, Consolid Projects Consulting Limited, Pramif International Limited, and Legend World Concepts Limited as 2nd to 7th defendants respectively.
Justice Ekwo, on May 31, admitted Okorocha to bail in the sum of N500 million with one surety in like sum.
The judge also granted Okorocha’s co-defendant, Chinenye, bail in the terms of the administrative bail earlier granted to him by the EFCC.