By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
A former Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, who is facing money laundering charge, on Thursday, approached the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja for permission to travel outside the country for medical treatment.
Okorocha, whose trial is due to resume on November 7, begged the court to allow him to visit his doctors at the United States of America to take care of his health condition.
In his application dated June 27, Okorocha, further sought a consequential order for the release of his International travel passport booklet, which he deposited with Registrar of the Court in partial fulfilment of his bail conditions.
He pledged to return to the country for continuation of his trial, adding that prior to his arraignment, he underwent medical surgery at the Ambulatory Surgery Centre, Texas, in the US for distal femur fracture, which he sustained in an accident.
The former governor said he had been on regular/scheduled care and treatment at the same Ambulatory Surgery Center, where he had been scheduled for further medical tests, observation and treatment on July 19, 2022, or immediately thereafter.
However, the former governor, through his lawyer, Mr. Daniel Alumunu, bemoaned his inability to serve the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, with a copy of his motion for leave to travel.
Consequently, trial Justice Inyang Ekwo adjourned deferred hearing of the motion till July 6 to enable the Defendant to effect service of the motion on the EFCC.
It will be recalled that the court had on May 31, granted Okorocha bail to the tune of N500m with one surety in like sum.
Okorocha, who piloted affairs of Imo state from 2011 to 2019, was arraigned on Monday alongside Mr. 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 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.
The Defendants however pleaded not guilty to the charge.