By Ikechukwu Nnochiri, Abuja
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has brought the former governor of Imo state, Senator Rochas Okorocha before the Federal High Court in Abuja for his planned arraignment on a 17-count money laundering charge.
It will be recalled that operatives of the anti-graft agency had last Tuesday, May 24, arrested Okorocha at his Abuja residence, in an operation that lasted over seven hours.
The arrest followed alleged refusal by the former governor to make himself available for trial.
EFCC accused him of deliberately evading service of the charge on him.
Okorocha, who piloted the affairs of Imo state from 2011 to 2019, was charged before the court following his alleged complicity in a N2.9 billion 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.
Okorocha, who is currently the Senator representing Imo West, had earlier declared his intention to contest for presidency in the 2023 general elections.
The court had on May 27, rejected an application the former governor filed to be released on bail pending his arraignment.