Seeks more time to effect service, as court shifts trial to March 28
By Ikechukwu Nnochiri – Abuja
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Tuesday, alleged that a former Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, evaded service of the 17-count fraud charge it preferred against him and five others.
The anti-graft agency told the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja that several efforts it made to effect service of the charge on Okorocha, failed.
Counsel to the Commission, Mr. Cosmos Ugwu, decried that while all the other Defendants were in court for their scheduled arraignment, the former governor, made himself inaccessible.
“My lord, ordinarily, this matter is for arraignment, but unfortunately, the 1st Defendant is not in court.
“We made several efforts to serve the 1st Defendant with the charge but could not succeed.
“All the other Defendants have been served.
“We are therefore asking for a date to enable us to effect service on the 1st Defendant”, the Prosecution counsel added.
EFCC’s application for an adjournment was not opposed by counsel to the other Defendant, Mr. Oba Maduabuchi, SAN.
Consequently, trial Justice Inyang Ekwo adjourned the matter till March 28.
Okorocha, who piloted affairs of Imo state from 2011 to 2019, was charged before the court following his alleged complicity in a N2.9billion fraud.
He was charged alongside a chieftain of the All Progressive, APC, Anyim Nyerere 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 public funds into private accounts for their personal use.
According to the anti-graft agency, the Defendants committed the alleged offence between October 2014 and February 2016.
It 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.
It will be recalled that Okorocha who is currently the Senator representing Imo West, had recently declared his intention to contest for presidency in the 2023 general elections.