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Okorocha to forfeit over 500 properties to Imo Govt

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The Imo State High Court in Owerri  has ordered the former state governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha to forfeit over 500 properties he acquired while in office as governor.

Justice Fred Njemanze gave the  order in a suit with File No. HOW/M1191/2021 on Monday.

The case was instituted by the Imo State Attorney General against Mrs. Nkechi Rochas Okorocha, Incorporated Trustees of Rochas Foundation, and Senator Rochas Anayo Okorocha.

The suit followed a white paper report by a Judicial Commission of Enquiry on Recovery of Lands and other related matters commissioned by the Imo Government as contained in pages 226 to 272.

Ruling, Justice Njemanze ordered the final and absolute forfeiture of Royal Palm Springs Hotel as well as some 500 other properties belonging to Senator Okorocha and other family members.

The judge maintained that Okorocha and other defendants did not provide concrete and verifiable reasons why a final and absolute forfeiture order should not be given in favour of the state government.

He added that the suit against Imo state Government by Okorocha’s counsel was not properly filed and that the white paper gazette by the Imo Government is a legally binding document.

The lead counsel to the respondents, Oba Maduabuchi, who described the judgment as “perfidy of justice,” said that he will definitely appeal against the judgment.

Okorocha has been indulged in a legal tussle with his successor, Senator Hope Uzodinma, since leaving office over the ownership of the affected properties.

Recently, he was arrested and grilled by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over alleged fraud and embezzlement while in office.

EFCC officials said he will soon be charged to court.

A top government functionary in the administration of Senator Uzodinma recently told ElombahNews that those “properties should be the least of his worries.”

The source said “the former governor should be more concerned about how long he will spend in prison” and not a vague pursuit of properties that are evident products of embezzlement of public funds.

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