Calls by various sections of Imo State and Nigerians on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to probe alleged mindless pillaging of the state by the immediate past governor of Imo State, Chief Ethelbert Okorocha and family members may have begun to yield dividends.
In line with this call, the Nationa’s anti-corruption body has said it has obtained orders for the interim forfeiture of assets traced to a former governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha; his wife, Nneoma Nkechi, and their daughter.
The Head, Enugu Zonal Office of the commission, Mr. Usman Imam, disclosed this on Wednesday in Enugu while briefing newsmen on the activities of the commission in the last eight months.
Imam said the EFCC also obtained similar order on a property traced to a former aide to Okorocha, Mr. Paschal Obi, and the former governor’s daughter.
He said that the commission had established prima facie cases against the suspects, which they would answer to.
Imam said that the commission would like to know how the Rochas Foundation and “other accomplices” acquired and or converted some of the property for personal use.
He listed some of the property to include a 16-block 96-flat structure and an eight-bungalow multimillion naira estate, hotel, two schools, shopping plaza, supermarket, hospital and four vehicles.
The EFCC chief said that while the hospital was traced to Obi, the remaining property were traced to the former governor and his family, including his wife and daughter.
“We hope to get permanent forfeiture orders on the property in order to return them to the people of the state,” he said.
Imam said that all the facilities, including the schools, would remain functional as the commission would not like to shut them down for the sake of the students and other users.
NewsTrack checks revealed the confusion among government officials as to how much that may have been looted from the coffers of Imo state government by the former governor Okorocha.
Our investigation reveals that Okorocha in concert with the former Speaker of Imo State 8th Assembly, Hon. Acho Ihim allegedly looted Owerri Capital Development Agency (OCDA) special account of over N37 billion.
Our sources said that the signatories of the said account were people of impeccable characters, including clerics. In a bid to access the said fund, Okorocha was allegedly easily used Ihim and few others to change the signatories, an action that enabled Okorocha to access the funds that have been saved over the years.
Imolites are calling on the anti-corruption commission to investigate what happened to the funds, saying that it will be a bad precedent if Okorocha is allowed to get away with his crimes.