Court Orders Final Forfeiture Of Over 500 Assets Linked To Senator Rochas Okorocha - THE DAILY CRUCIBLE

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Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Court Orders Final Forfeiture Of Over 500 Assets Linked To Senator Rochas Okorocha


 By Our Reporter

Former governor of Imo  state and Senator representing Imo  West Senatorial Zone, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, and his family  have been ordered to permanently forfeit to the Imo State Government, over 500  properties allegedly acquired wrongfully  by them between 2011 and 2019.

Justice Fred Njemanze of Owerri  High Court gave the final  forfeiture order while delivering judgment in a  suit marked HOW/M1191/2021 instituted  by Louis Alozie on behalf of the state government

But Okorocha’s lead counsel, Oba Maduabuchi, has vowed to challenge the judgment in  a higher court, describing the court's decision as a “perfidy of justice.” 

According  to him, “even a primary school pupil knows that it cannot  stand.”

The Daily Crucible recalls that court in  February gave an ordered for the  interim forfeiture  of all the properties allegedly linked to Improvise. 

 It also asked Okorocha who was the state governor from  2011 to  2019  to show reason(s) why he should not permanently  forfeit the properties.

And in his judgment on Monday, Justice Njemanze held that legal team failed to give verifiable reasons why a final and absolute forfeiture order should not be given in favour of the Imo state  government.

The judge also held that the application   against the government by Okorocha’s lawyers was not properly filed, describing it as a “surplusage,” a legal term meaning a useless statement completely irrelevant to a matter.

Njemanze maintained that the White Paper by the government is a legal binding document.

Some of the  properties, including the popular Royal Palm Springs Hotel in Owerri, Eastern Palm University, Ogboko;  IBC staff quarters. 

1. Eastern Palm University, Ogboko
2. Royal Spring Palm Hotels and Apartments

3. IBC staff quarters said to have been illegally acquired for the purpose of Rochas Foundation College

4. Owerri magistrate quarters, Orlu road/cooperative office/Girls Guide allegedly converted to private use housing market square and Kilimanjaro eatery
5. Public building situated at plot B/2 Otamiri South Extension Layout given to the ministry of women affairs for establishing a skills acquisition centre for women, allegedly acquired for the benefit of Nneoma Nkechi Okorocha’s all-in Mall along Aba road.
6. Plot P5, Naze residential layout, initially part of primary school management board but now annexed to All-In Mall along Aba Road, belonging to Mrs Nkechi Okorocha
7. And all the properties contained from pages 226 to 272 of the government white paper on the recommendation of the judicial commission of inquiry into land administration in Imo state from June 2006 to May 2019.

Okorocha's counsel, Maduabuchi, expressed shock that the judge could go ahead to give judgment even when they had agreed a date for the  ruling on their pending  application.

 “ I’m baffled. On  Friday, a text message came from the judge that he would deliver his ruling on Monday (yesterday) or Tuesday. But because of the sit-at-home order by IPOB  we agreed for Tuesday(today).  I was shocked when my colleague told me that they have delivered a ruling,; not just a  ruling but a judgment

“We had earlier on Tuesday last week  argued the objections I raised on the processes filled by Imo State Government. The  judge said he reserved his ruling   and when ruling is reserved, it means that no particular date is fixed. Usually when it (ruling) is ready, parties are informed,” he said. 

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