Alleged fraud: Okorocha granted N500m bail

cac okorocha
cac okorocha

From Godwin Tsa, Abuja

The Abuja division of the Federal High Court has granted bail to former Imo state governor and presidential aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Rochas Okorocha, pending his trial in alleged money laundering charge.

The court, however, ordered that he be remanded in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). pending the time he meets his bail conditions.

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Equally admitted to bail by Justice Inyang Ekwo is his co-accused, Anyim Nyerere, who was also sighted in a 17-count money laundering charge.

While Okorocha was granted bail in the sum of N500 million and one surety in the like sum, Nyerere continues on the administrative bail granted him by EFCC.

The court ordered that Okorocha’s surety must have a property in Abuja not below N500 million, and the original title documents of the property must be deposited with the court registrar.

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It further ordered that the original title document must be taken to Abuja Geographical Information System (AGIS) for verification.

Thereafter, the registrar would swear to an affidavit on the report of his findings.

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In addition, Senator Okorocha’s traveling documents must be deposited with the court registrar, and that he must not travel out of the country without the permission of the court.

The Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) must be alerted in writing by the court registrar that the passport of the former governor would be in the custody of the court and should not be allowed to travel out of the country with an order of the court bail.

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Justice Ekwo held that although bail was at the discretion of the court, however, that circumstances and conduct of the first defendant (Okorocha) would not make the court admit him to customary bail conditions.

In the case of the second defendant, the court observed that since he did not tamper or jump the administrative bail given to him by the EFCC, he should remain the same.

Justice Ekwo finally ordered that Okorocha should remain in the custody of the EFCC until the bail conditions are met.

Meanwhile, the court has adjourned trial to November 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11.

Okorocha, who was arraigned on Monday, pleaded not guilty to the 17-count charge preferred against him and six others by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The ex-governor, who is currently the Senator representing Imo West, had initially declared his intention to contest for presidency in the 2023 general elections.

He was, however, arrested by operatives of the agency, few hours before his political party, the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC), screened its presidential candidates. His arrest was predicated on his alleged refusal to make himself available for trial, as the prosecution agency accused him of deliberately evading service of the charge on him.

Senator Okorocha, who took his plea before Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Abuja division of the Federal High Court, was arraigned alongside a chieftain of the 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.

The anti-graft agency had, in the charge, 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.

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