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Alleged N2.9b fraud: Court adjourns Okorocha’s trial to November 25 

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Chigozie Ikpo, Abuja


A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Tuesday, adjourned proceedings in the money laundering charge filled by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, against former Governor of Imo state, Rochas Okorocha to November 25.


Justice Inyang Edem Ekwo adjourned proceedings after the lawyer for EFCC, Faruk Abdullahi told the court that he was not ready to proceed with his case.


Abdullahi said that he had just been served the counter affidavit by Okorocha’s team minutes before the proceedings began and is yet to study it.


Counsel for Okorocha, Ola Olanipekun SAN, said that he filled the Further affidavit on November 21 because the EFCC did not file their counter affidavit until afternoon on Friday November 17, so the opportunity they was to respond on Monday.


Justice Ekwo adjourned proceedings till Friday 25 November for preliminary objection


Okorocha, who piloted the affairs of Imo State from 2011 to 2019, was arraigned by the EFCC on a 17 count charge alongside Mr. Chinenye and five companies, Naphtali International Limited, Perfect Finish Multi Projects Limited, Consolid Projects Consulting Limited, Pramif International Limited, and Legend World Concepts Limited.


EFCC alleged that the defendants conspired and diverted funds belonging to Imo State, to the tune of about N2.9billion.


The anti-graft agency alleged that the defendants sequentially siphoned funds from the Imo State Government House account and Imo State Joint Local Government Project account, and diverted same into accounts of private firms for their personal use.


According to the prosecution, the alleged offence was committed between October 2014 and February 2016.


However, the defendants took turns and pleaded not guilty to the charge.


Okorocha, who is currently the Senator representing Imo West, earlier declared his intention to contest for presidency in the 2023 general elections.


He was however arrested by operatives of the agency, a few hours before the time his political party, the APC, was initially slated to screen its presidential aspirants.


The arrest of the former governor followed his alleged refusal to make himself available for trial.


EFCC alleged that he deliberately evaded service of the charge on him.


He was subsequently granted administrative bail of N500m on June 1, 2022 as he is barred from leaving the country until the determination of his case.

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