By Davies Iheamnachor
PORT HARCOURT: The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has vowed to commence the prosecution of the former Governor of Imo State, Sen. Rochas Okorocha, upon the conclusion of its ongoing investigation.
The commission also noted that it had already returned over N2.7 billion from the N7.9 billion recovered from different bank accounts and assests belonging to Okorocha to the state for payment of workers’ salaries and pension.
The Zonal Head of EFCC Port Harcourt, Mr. Imam Usman, disclosed this in Port Harcourt during a mid-year briefing on the activities of the commission within the six months.
Usman noted that the prosecution of Okorocha was brought from Enugu state, adding that several properties worth billions have been forfeited to the Federal Government.
He said: “Furthermore, upon my deployment to this zone, the investigation of corruption allegation against the former Governor of Imo State, Chief Rochas Okorocha was transferred from the Enugu Zone to Port Harcourt for further investigation.
“Within the period in review, the Commission succeeded in freezing about N7.9billion in different accounts. Out of this, N2.7billion was released to the Imo state government to enable it pay staff salaries and pensions.
“Also, properties worth billions of Naira recovered in the course of the investigation have been forfeited to the Federal Government.”
The EFFC zonal head disclosed that out of the N2.7 billion already returned to Imo State for payment of workers salaries and pension that the immediate past governor of the state, Chief Emeka Ihedioha got N2.5 billion, while Hope Uzodinma has already received N514 million.
Usman said: “Only last month, N514million was further released to the incumbent administration of the state to enable it meet its obligations to workers.
“All the money released to Imo State were the monies recovered from the former Governor of the state, N7.9 billion.
“The money was released in batches. In the government of Emeka Ihedioha, we released excess of 2.5 billion for salaries and pensions. They were money recovered for the state and they have to go back to the state.
“When the Emeka left and Uzodinma came, there was still remnants of the money. It was excess of N2 billion. And we were able to release 514 million just last month to the state. Because excess of N1.8 billion is incumbent in court process because some contractors when to court and wanted some refund.
“The court process is lingering, so we still have excess of N1.8 billion that has not been released because of the court process.”
Usman stated that investigation of Okorocha was at its peak, adding that upon conclusion the senator would be arraigned.
He said: “When the matter was brought from Enugu, the chairman of EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, saw the need for the continuity of that case and said we should continue the investigation.
“The investigation has gotten to an advanced stage and upon conclusion of the investigation, we are going to arraign the former Governor.
“Now also it is in course of the investigation that we targeted some of his assets. Some are in Imo, Owerri, some are in Abuja. We marked some of them for interim forfeiture. The target is to concluded investigation and he shall have his day in court.”
Meanwhile, Usman disclosed that within the second quarter of the year that the commission has also recovered over N291 million and secured 16 convictions out of 22 prosecutions it commenced within the period under review.
He said: “Within the period under review, the commission was able to recover monetary assets worth N291,777,828.00, $847, 983.00, €390, £10,900 and 500 CFA.”