Court frees Okorocha of N2.9bn corruption charges

A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), has discharged Senator Rochas Okorocha of all allegations of corruption filed against him when he was Imo Governor between 2011 and 2019 by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

This was the third time Okorocha has been freed by courts in respect of alleged fraud and corruption said to have been committed while he was the Governor of Imo State between 2011-2019.

In 2021, Justice Stephen Pam of a Federal High Court in Port Harcourt, Rivers State had in a judgment, quashed the EFCC’s charge against Okorocha after it declared as illegal, unlawful, null, and void the investigation upon which the charge was based on.

The judge subsequently made an order prohibiting the EFCC from further prosecuting the former governor over any alleged offense relating to the said investigation.

However, the commission had on May 24, 2022, arrested Okorocha and subsequently arraigned him and six others before the Federal High Court in Abuja. They were alleged to have embezzled the sum of N2.9 billion belonging to the Government of Imo State.

However, Justice Inyang Ekwo, in a ruling delivered on February 6, struck out the charges for contravening section 105 (3) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), 2015, which gives the Attorney-General of the Federation the power to recall a case. Dissatisfied, the commission approached a High Court of the FCT and filed another set of charges against the former governor.

But, Okorocha, who represented Imo West in the Senate from 2019 to 2023, through his lawyer in an application, challenged the competency of the charge, claiming it was an abuse of court processes.

Delivering a ruling in the application on Friday, Justice Halilu held that it was wrong for the EFCC to bring a suit, which had already been decided by a court of coordinate jurisdiction, especially when there was an order of court restraining the anti-graft agency from prosecuting Okorocha over the outcome of an investigation which has been nullified by the court.  MORE NEWS

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