The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Monday arraigned a former governor of Imo state, Senator Rochas Okorocha, and six others before Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, on 17-count charges bordering on conspiracy, stealing, conversion of public funds and money laundering to the tune of N3,147, 000, 000 (three billion, one hundred and forty seven million naira).
Okorocha was docked alongside Anyim Nyerere (a.k.a Anyim Chinenye), Naphtali International Ltd, Perfect Finish Multi Projects Ltd, Consolid Projects Consulting Ltd, Pramif International Ltd and Legend World Concepts Ltd.
One of the counts read; “That you, Rochas Okorocha, Anyim Nyerere(a.k.a Anyim Nyerere Chinenye) and Naphtali International Ltd, on or about the 24th October, 2014, at Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court converted the sum of N900,000,000 property of Imo State Government of Nigeria transferred from the Imo State Government House Account, which you all reasonably ought to have known formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful act, to wit: stealing and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15(2)(b) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011, (as amended) and punishable under Section 15(3) of the Same Act.
Another count read: “That You, Rochas Okorocha, Anyim Nyerere(a.k.a Anyim Nyerere Chinenye), and Perfect Finish Multi Projects Ltd, on or about 28th August, 2014, at Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court converted the sum of N486,000,000(Four Hundred and Eighty Six Million Naira), property of Imo State Government of Nigeria, transferred from the Imo State Joint State Local government Project Account, which you all reasonably ought to have known formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful act, to wit: stealing and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15(2)(b) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended) and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act”.
The defendants pleaded “not guilty” to all the charges when they were read to them.
EFCC counsel, G. K. Latona prayed the court to set a trial date and to remand the defendants in a Correctional Centre. However, defence counsel, Oke Amaechi, SAN, for the first defendant and Daniel. M. Uzorumba for the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 7th defendants informed the court that they have filed applications for bail for all the defendants dated May 25, 2022. Latona, however, informed the court that he was served with a motion on notice of bail on May 26, 2022 and “we intend to respond; there were issues raised there concerning the office of the Attorney General of the Federation, we want to respond to that.”
Justice Ekwo remanded all the defendants in EFCC’s custody and adjourned the matter for hearing on bail application to May 31, 2022.