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Alleged fraud: Court adjourns Okorocha’s preliminary objection ruling

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, on Friday, adjourned an application filed by former Governor of Imo, Senator Rochas Okorocha, until February 6 for 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.

The News Agency of Nigeria reported that 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 Imo governor between 2011 and 2019.

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 Nov. 18, said it had seen and read through Okorocha’s motion dated Oct. 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 of 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, counsel to Consolid Projects Consulting Ltd (5th defendant), also adopted his motion on notice, seeking the order dismissing the charge against the company.

Ugwu, in opposition to the application, told the court that the 5th defendant cannot benefit from a judgement it was not part of, urging the court to discountenance his argument.

NAN reported that Justice Ekwo had, on Wednesday, fixed November 25 for the hearing of the preliminary objection filed by the lawmaker.

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.

On May 31, Justice Ekwo, 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.

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