The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have sealed the Rochas Foundation College, Owerri, Imo State, belonging to the immediate past state governor, Rochas Okorocha.
The anti-graft agency also sealed the East High Primary and Secondary School, Owerri which belongs to Okorocha’s first daughter, Uloma Nwosu.
Also sealed was the All-In Supermarket, Owerri, said to belong to an unnamed member of the Okorocha’s family.
The other assets are: Royal Spring Palm Hotel and Apartment, a 16 block cum 96 flats and eight bungalow multi-million naira estate, allegedly belonging to Okorocha’s wife; a hospital-owned by Dr. Paschal Obi, a former Principal Secretary to the former governor, among others.
A tag with an inscription, “Under investigation by EFCC, keep off,” was pasted to the buildings.
The commission said it at no time “raided” nor “harassed” anyone in the course of marking the properties.
The EFCC made the clarifications in a statement in Abuja through its Head of Media and Publicity, Mr. Tony Orilade.
However, Okorocha in a statement by his media aide, Sam Onwuemeodo, accused his successor, Emeka Ihedioha, of working with the EFCC to witch hunt him through his investments in the state.
He argued that the sealing of his investments by the anti-graft agency was against an order of a court of competent jurisdiction. The statement partly read:
“What is obvious is that the Peoples Democratic Party-led government in the state with Chief Emeka Ihedioha as governor and all the PDP chieftains who felt politically displaced from 2011 to 2019 by Rochas Okorocha had come together to launch war against Rochas and his family.
“That was why they needed INEC to declare their candidate winner even when he did not meet the requirements. Unfortunately, they have instigated certain agencies like the EFCC into taking some hasty actions following flood of petitions by them.
“Our concern about the action of the EFCC is the approach. There was no prior invitation to the managements or proprietors of the colleges and other establishments sealed by the commission as expected before taken such action.
“To the best of our knowledge too, these colleges have not been under the investigation of the commission. We have had the feeling that the sealing of the colleges or any other structure as the case maybe, would have been based on the outcome of their investigations in which the managements or the proprietors would have also been interrogated.
“Sealing the colleges and other property because they belong to the Rochas Okorocha family before investigation is what is difficult for us to comprehend especially when most of these establishments had preceded the governorship of Rochas Okorocha.”
Specifically, the former governor noted that the RFC had long been in existence before he ventured into politics, urging the commission to unseal it.
He stated that the pupils of the college were mostly orphans who enjoyed free education and would suffer from the EFCC’s action. The statement added:
“The Rochas Foundation Colleges have existed in Imo and in many states of the federation including Plateau, Kano, Sokoto, Kaduna, Oyo, Bauchi and so on, years before Okorocha’s governorship. And the EFCC may also go to those states outside Imo to seal the rest of the colleges.”
“What is happening in Imo at the moment is not governance. It is a total war against Rochas and his family, the APC members, members of other parties and opponents. They say they want to make the state uncomfortable for opponents and they are doing it with recklessness.
“It should also not be forgotten that there is a subsisting court order to this effect and we believe that the commission’s office in Enugu is aware of the court order in question as it concerns the commission and Okorocha’s investments. The EFCC is a highly responsible institution and our appeal is that it should not be incited against Okorocha and his family and should equally take cognisance of the court order in question.
“Senator Rochas Okorocha and family believe strongly in the state and have relocated most of their businesses to Owerri unlike these PDP bigwigs who do not love the state, with all of them having nothing to show that they have a stake in the state.”
But Ihedioha has denied being the brains behind the sealing of the buildings.
Speaking through his Chief Press Secretary, Chibuike Onyeukwu, with The PUNCH on Wednesday, Ihedioha said there was no truth in the allegation. He said:
“The governor has no hand in the sealing of Okorocha’s investments by the EFCC. For the records, the EFCC had already started its investigations against Rochas Okorocha before this administration came on board on May 29.
“There is no truth that the governor is engaging in the witch-hunt of Rochas Okorocha. They should show proofs that the governor is doing so .The governor can’t deviate from his core mandate of rebuilding the state to embark on the witch-hunt anybody including Rochas Okorocha.
“If there is any witch-hunt it is his mis-governance of the state that is hunting him .The governor is focused and determined to rebuilding the state.”
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