FORMER Imo State governor Senator Rochas Okorocha suffered a major setback in his ongoing battle with the incumbent administration after an Owerri high court ordered the temporary confiscation of several of his properties.
In what has been a very turbulent week in Imo State, Senator Okorocha who was governor between 2011 and 2019, was arrested last weekend after he forced his way into the Royal Spring Palm Estate, Owerri. Incumbent Governor Hope Uzodinma had seized the estate which belongs to Senator Okorocha’s wife Nkechi, claiming it was state property appropriated by the former governor.
Senator Okorocha, who has since been elected as the lawmaker representing Imo West Senatorial District, vowed to stop what he sees as the seizure of his personal property and yesterday forced open the estate to reclaim it. However, following his forceful entry into the property, he was arrested and taken to the police station in Owerri but has since accused Governor Uzodinma of unleashing hundreds of thugs against him.
Boasting that he has the strongest political structure in the state, senator Okorocha has vowed to fight on to the very bitter end. Yesterday, however, he suffered a major setback after a high court in Owerri ordered an interim forfeiture of all properties he allegedly acquired illegally while in office.
Justice Fred Njemanze gave the order following an application brought by Louis Alozie on behalf of the state government. Among the properties to be forfeited include Eastern Palm University, Ogboko; Royal Spring Palm Hotels and Apartments Owerri; IBC staff quarters said to have been illegally acquired for the purpose of Rochas Foundation College, Owerri; Magistrate Quarters, Kilimanjaro Eatery; Public Building plot B/2 Otamiri South Extension Layout and Plot P5 Naze Residential Layout.
Following this judgement, all the properties contained in pages 226 to 272 of the Imo State government white paper on the recommendation of the judicial commission of inquiry into land administration from June 2006 to May 2019, are to be forfeited. With the matter still being investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, a lengthy legal battle is expected.