~ Rochas Okorocha In Court ~
The former governor of Imo state, Rochas Okorocha has denied N2 billion fraud charges brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
He pleaded not guilty today to the 17-count money laundering charges the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, filed against him and six others before a Federal High court in Abuja.
Okorocha was arraigned alongside a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, 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.
When the charge was read to him before trial judge, Justice Inyang Ekwo, the former governor, said;
“I understand the charge against me, but I am not guilty my lord”
All the other defendants also pleaded their innocence to the charge dated January 24. According to the EFCC, Okorocha who was governor of Imo state from 2011 to 2019, diverted funds belonging to the state government to the tune of about N2.9billion.
Okorocha’s lawyer, Mr. Okey Amaechi, SAN, had asked the court to grant the former governor bail pending the determination of the case against him. He argued that the former governor was roughly arrested by the EFCC operatives last Tuesday.
“My lord, without a warrant of arrest from this court, they went into the house of the defendant, broke into it and arrested him in a gestapo manner” he said.
However, EFCC, through its lawyer, Mr. Gbolahan Latona, told the court that Okorocha raised some issues in his bail application that would require its response.
While adjourning the matter till Tuesday, May 31, to hear bail applications of the defendants, Justice Ekwo ordered that Okorocha and the other defendants be remanded in EFCC custody pending the determination of their bail request.
The court equally fixed November 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 for trial.