A Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt Rivers State has vacated a forfeiture order secured by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) on some properties belonging to former Imo Governor Rochas Okorocha and some members of his family.
The anti-graft agency had early this month obtained the court’s orders for the interim forfeiture of assets traced to the former governor, his wife, Nneoma Nkechi and their daughter.
The properties are: “a 16 – block 96 – flat structure and an eight – bungalow multimillion naira estate, hotel, two schools, shopping plaza, supermarket, hospital, and four vehicles.
“The same was known to those close to the state as, East High College, East High Academy, Willowood Hotel, House of Freeda, Dews of Hope hospital and Market Square Supermarket.”
The commission in an earlier statement said it would like to know how Rochas Foundation and “other accomplices” acquired and or converted some of the property for personal use.
It alleged that a prima facie cases had been established against the suspects, which they would answer to.
Vacating the Order, the presiding Judge, Kolawole Omotoso, lifted the forfeiture order on some of the properties especially the schools to enable students to resume for the new academic year.
The court, however, made another Order restraining the respondents (Okorocha and family members) from selling any of the properties pending the conclusion of the investigation by the EFCC.
The development followed the submission by Okorocha’s Lawyer, Okey Amaechi, that the forfeiture order displayed on the school gates would negatively affect resumption of academic activities in the new session, insisting that parents would be discouraged to register their children and wards in the schools.
Meanwhile, the EFCC had asked the Court to exclude two of the properties earlier listed in the forfeiture order after it was discovered that they were not owned by the former governor or any of his family members.