From Fred Itua, Abuja
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), yesterday, told Daily Sun that former governor of Imo State and a serving senator, Rochas Okorocha, has been arrested.
Spokesman of the Commission, Wilson Uwujaren, confirmed that the former governor was picked up in Abuja yesterday.
He said he was still with the Commision as at the time of filing in this report.
He is currently being interrogated is currently at the EFCC headquarters in Abuja.
Uwujaren did not reveal when and if he will be released soon.
Okorocha’s arrest was not without drama. The former governor was arrested after a five-hour standoff with EFCC operatives who trailed him to the location.
Sources familiar with the development, said Okorocha had been repeatedly invited, but ignored the summon. His arrest is in connection with multiple corruption allegations against him.
In 2019, soon after Okorocha left office, the EFCC said it traced some stolen assets to Okorocha and his cronies. It said Dews of Hope Hospital was traced to Dr. Paschal Obi, former Principal Secretary to ex-governor Okorocha; Market Square Super Market; All in One Shop; and premises belonging to Imo State Broadcasting Corporation now hosting Rochas Foundation College owned by Senator Okoroacha.
Other properties are East High Academy and East High College, owned by Okorocha’s daughter, Uloma Okorocha-Nwosu; Royal Spring Palm Hotel and Apartment, a 16 block cum 96 flats and eight bungalow multi-million Naira estate traced to Okorocha’s wife.
In 2019, the EFCC said the Commission returned over N5.7 billion to various administrations in Imo to pay salaries and pensions of workers.
On May 10, 2020, a committee set up to investigate the finances of the Imo state government under the Okorocha administration said it uncovered N112.8 billion dubious debts owed the state by nine commercial banks.
It said the money owed by the banks were claims from various infractions, including unexplained debits as well as penalties arising from such, in their dealings with the state government.
The ex-governor, who reacted to last night through his media aide, Sam Onwuemeodo, confirmed he was invited by the Commission over a petition by the incumbent government in the state..
The statement read: “The truth is that Okorocha left as the governor of Imo State on May 28, 2019. And shortly after his exit as governor, Imo State Government wrote petitions upon petitions against him.
“The EFCC investigated the petitions and has been in various Courts of the land with Okorocha, to that effect.
“And if the EFCC has decided to invite Okorocha for clarifications on the matters already in courts, especially with a new chairman at the helm of affairs at the Commission, there is nothing wrong with that.
“The matters between EFCC and Okorocha over his governorship in Imo have been pendent in various courts of the land.
“At the end of the day, we would know whether the Commission will be withdrawing the cases in courts, or would continue with the cases already in courts.
“But to us, the Commission is doing its job and should be given the needed cooperation. And Okorocha being a law-abiding citizen would always cooperate with the Commission over the matters in courts. EFCC is not a slaughter house but a very responsible institution and should be seen as such.
“We have no reason to complain about the invitation of today, which Okorocha honoured as patriotic and responsible Nigerian.”