COURTROOM NEWS 30/05/2022
Court Remands Okorocha In EFCC Custody Over Alleged N2.9bn Fraud
A Federal High Court in Abuja has scheduled hearing for May 31 on the bail applications filed by a former Imo Governor Rochas Okorocha and his ally, Anyim Nyerere Chinenye who were both arraigned on Monday on a 17-count money laundering charge.
Okorocha and Chinenye were arraigned with five companies on the charge filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The companies are: Naphtali International Limited, Perfect Finish Multi Projects Limited, Consolid Projects Consulting Limited, Pramif International Limited, and Legend World Concepts Limited.
Okorocha and Chinenye pleaded not guilty when the charge was read to them, while the court recorded not guilty plea for the five companies based on the request by the lawyer to the companies, Darlington Ozurumba.
Dressed in green agbada and a brown cap, Okorocha was brought into the courtroom before 9am on Monday by operatives of the EFCC.
After the defendants pleas were taken, lead prosecuting lawyer, Gbolahan Latona urged the court to fix a date for trial.
Latona said the prosecution was ready for trial and intends to call between 13 and 15 witnesses.
Okey Amaechi (SAN),who lead the legal team of Okorocha informed the court that a bail application has been filed for his client, although Latona said the prosecution was yet to reply.
Lawyer to Chinenye, Ozurunba (who held the brief of Oba Maduabuchi) said his client also has a pending bail application.
Ruling, Justice Inyang Ekwo ordered the prosecution to respond to both bail applications by and return on May 31 for haring.
Justice Ekwo ordered that Okorocha and Chinenye be remanded in the custody of the EFCC pending the determination of their bail application on Tuesday.
Okorocha and others are accused, in the charge marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/28/2022 of diverting Imo State’s funds estimated at about N2.9billion.
The EFCC claimed that the defendants committed the alleged offence between October 2014 and February 2016.
It further claimed that the defendants sequentially siphoned funds from the Imo State Government House Account and Imo State Joint Local Government Project Account, which they diverted into accounts maintained by private firms.