Iyobosa Uwugiaren and Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) wednesday said that it had traced and marked eight assets belonging to immediate past Governor of Imo State, Mr. Rochas Okorocha, his family members and cronies.
But in a swift reaction former governor has faulted the action of the commission, saying it did not do its due diligence before sealing off his schools in Enugu and other property in Owerri.
The anti-graft agency said the marking of the property, which was a fall-out of “our painstaking investigation, is as a result of the failure of the suspects to honour the commission’s invitation for questioning on the propriety of their acquisition”.
The commission listed the assets it sealed to include: “Dews of Hope Hospital traced to Dr. Paschal Obi, former Principal Secretary to ex-governor Okorocha; Market Square Super Market; All in One Shop; and premises belonging to Imo State Broadcasting Corporation now hosting Rochas Foundation College owned by Senator Okoroacha.
“Other assets are: East High Academy and East High College, owned by Okorocha’s daughter, Uloma Okorocha-Nwosu; Royal Spring Palm Hotel and Apartment, a 16 block cum 96 flats and eight bungalow multi-million naira estate traced to Okorocha’s wife.
The commission said it did not at anytime “raid” nor “harassed” anyone in the course of marking the property as its operatives, in line with international best practices, informed the occupants of the facilities in good time, before taking the action.
A statement signed by EFCC Spokesman, Tony Orilade, said the commission had pictorial and video evidence of the raid contrary to claims by Okorocha that the schools were raided while in session.
“It is also pertinent to state that the commission has pictorial and video evidences, which put a lie to the claim that Rochas Foundation College was allegedly raided by the EFCC while in session. This could not be so because the school was not in session and could not have had its students harassed as was fed some online media.
“The commission would ordinarily not bother with any allegation coming from the camp of Senator Okorocha, but this refutal has become pertinent in other to clear doubts especially in these days of fake news.
In his reaction, the former governor said there was no formal invitation extended to him.
“To the best of our knowledge, too, these colleges have not been under the investigation of the commission.”
“We have had the feeling that the sealing off of the colleges or any other structure as the case maybe, would have been based on the outcome of their investigation in which the managements or the proprietors would have also been interrogated,” he argued.
Okrocha also blamed the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) government in the state for his travails.
He said the PDP government and their chieftains who felt politically displaced by him between 2011 and 2019 were behind the EFCC investigation.
“And that was why they needed INEC to declare their candidate winner, even when he didn’t meet the requirement.
“Unfortunately, they have instigated certain agencies like EFCC into taking some hasty actions following floods of petitions by them,” he said in a statement issued by his media aide, Sam Onwuem