A Federal High sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, has ordered a former governor of Imo State, Chief Rochas Okorocha and his family not to sell or alienate any of the properties that are subject of an interim order of the court pending the conclusion of investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Justice K Omotosho gave the consequential order on Friday while vacating the July 25, 2019 interim order of forfeiture of five properties owned by Okorocha and his family to the Federal Government.
The affected properties are: Rochas Foundation College, Owerri; All in One Shopping Mall, East High Academy; East High College and Royal Spring Palm Hotel & Apartments.
The court vacated the earlier order following five separate motions on notice filled by the Registered Trustees of Rochas Foundation College, All-in One Limited, Royal Spring Palm Apartments Limited, Registered Trustees of Women of Divine Destiny Initiative and Uluoma Okorocha Nwosu to challenge the order on August 8.
The applicants, through the motions, urged the court to vacate the interim forfeiture order.
According to a statement made available to Sunday Tribune by EFCC’s Head, Media and Publicity, Wilson Uwujaren, the commission, in response, filed counter affidavits to the motions of the applicants on 19 August, 2019.
The statement added that on August 21, when the case came up for hearing, the applicants informed the court that they were served with the commission’s counter affidavits and asked for an adjournment which was granted by court.
When the case came up on September 9 for hearing of the motions, the applicants filed further affidavits and in reply to these further affidavits, the EFCC filed counter affidavits and served them same day.
However, applicants’ counsel, Okey Amechi, SAN informed Justice Omotosho that they were just served and the court adjourned the case to Wednesday, September 11, for hearing.
After the court sitting, the applicants were said to have served the commission with second further affidavit at about 11:21 am.
On Thursday, September 12, counsel to the EFCC informed the court that the applicants had served him with their second further affidavits and that he would need time to respond.
The court gave the commission till Friday, September 13 to file its counter affidavits, failing which it would make a consequential order.
This was after counsel to the applicants had drawn the attention of the court to the nature of the properties, one of which is a school which was scheduled to resume in September.
When the matter came up, on Friday, counsel to the EFCC informed the court that he was yet to file its counter affidavits and the court issued the consequential order vis-à-vis the nature of the properties involved.
The court directed the applicants to depose to an affidavit of undertaking and adjourned to September 27 for report
The statement informed that EFCC was studying the consequential order of court.