By Chinonso Alozie
Owerri—The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has started sealing landed properties owned by the immediate past governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, as well as those linked to his family members.
Vanguard learned yesterday in Owerri, that EFCC started sealing the properties on Tuesday and so far, the properties said to have been targeted were allegedly acquired within the eight years Okorocha was in office as governor.
Some of the affected properties are East High College and Academy; a furniture outfit linked to his daughter Uloma and wife, Nkechi, respectively.
Rochas Foundation College in Orji, Owerri North Local Government Area in the state was also affected.
At press time, there were indications that more landed properties belonging to the Okorochas would be sealed.
However, Okorocha, who is currently a Senator representing Imo West, through his Special Adviser on Media, Sam Onwuemeodo, has accused the state government of being behind EFCC’s action.
He said: “On Tuesday, July 23, as at about 6a.m, agents of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, from its office in Enugu, with buses loaded with armed military and mobile policemen, stormed the Rochas Foundation College, Owerri, that has more than three thousand students, most of them orphans, and sealed the college.
“EFCC also sealed the East High College and Academy, Owerri, that has Uloma Rochas as Proprietor, among other investments belonging to the former governor and family.
“What is obvious is that the PDP government in the state, with Chief Emeka Ihedioha as governor and all the PDP chieftains who felt politically displaced from 2011 to 2019 by Rochas Okorocha had come together to launch war against Okorocha, his family and APC members.
“Our concern about the action of EFCC is the approach. There was no prior invitation to the management or proprietors of the colleges and other establishments sealed by the commission as expected, before such action.”
But in a swift reaction, Governor Emeka Ihedioha said his predecessor, Rochas Okorocha was under investigation by EFCC before he was sworn in as governor of the state.
He said: “Ordinarily, we would not have dignified such accusations with a response but to guard against his recourse to deliberate lies and misrepresentation of facts, we are obliged to make this rejoinder.
“It is necessary to state that EFCC had before the inauguration of this administration, begun a probe of the former governor over issues of misappropriation of the state’s funds, including bailout funds, Paris Club Refunds, local government funds and other financial crimes.
“It is also on record that EFCC had made public, the freezing of a bank account with a balance of over N5 billion operated by the past administration as a result of fraudulent activities. Could Governor Ihedioha have influenced this action?
“We wish to advise ex-governor Okorocha and members of his family, that rather than engage in attempts to divert attention from this probe by EFCC, they should dutifully assist the EFCC in their investigations with a view to clearing themselves of the weighty allegations levelled against them and leave the state government out of their travails.”