Justice J.K Omotosho of the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State has lifted the interim forfeiture order on some the properties of Rochas Okorocha, former governor of Imo state, now under EFCC investigation.
But the reprieve came with some condition: Okorocha and his family must not to sell or alienate any of the properties, pending the conclusion of an investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
The Court directed the Applicants to, on or before Tuesday, September 17, 2019 depose to an affidavit of the undertaking and adjourned till September 27 for report.
The judge gave the consequential Order while vacating the July 25, 2019 Interim Order, forfeiting five properties owned by Okorocha and his family to the Federal Government.
The properties are: Rochas Foundation College, Owerri, All in 1 Shopping Mall, East High Academy, East High College and Royal Spring Palm Hotel & Apartments.
The Registered Trustees of Rochas Foundation College, All-in Limited, Royal Spring Palm Apartments Limited, Registered Trustees of Women of Divine Destiny Initiative and Uluoma Okorocha Nwosu challenged the order on August 8, through five separate motions on notice, praying the court to vacate the interim forfeiture order.
The Commission in a response filed counter-affidavits to the motions of the applicants on 19 August 2019.
On 21 August 2019 when the case came up for hearing, the applicants’ informed the court that they were served with the Commission’s Counter Affidavits and asked for an adjournment which was granted by court.
When the case came up on September 9, 2019 for the hearing of the motions, the applicants filed Further Affidavits and in reply to these further affidavits, the Commission filed counter-affidavits to the applicants’ further affidavit and served them the same day.
However, applicants’ Counsel Okey Amechi, SAN informed Justice Omotosho that they were just served and the court adjourned the case till Wednesday, September 11, 2019, for hearing.
After the Court sitting, the applicants’ served the Commission with 2nd further affidavit at precisely 11:21 am.
On Thursday, September12, 2019, counsel to the commission informed the Court that the Applicants had served him with their 2nd further affidavits and that he would need time to respond.
The Court gave the Commission till Friday, September,13, 2019 to file its counter-affidavits, failing which it will make a consequential order.
This was after counsel to the applicants had drawn the attention of the court to the nature of the properties, one of which is a school which was scheduled to resume in September.
On Friday, September 13 when the matter came up, Counsel to the Commission informed the Court that he is yet to file its counter-affidavits and the court issued the consequential order vis-à-vis the nature of the properties involved.
The Commission is studying the consequential order of the court.