Emerging details have revealed that the detained former governor of Imo State, Anayo Rochas Okorocha, will be locked up in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) until Monday, May 30, when he will be arraigned in court over the Federal Government’s N2.9 billion money laundering criminal allegations.
A source from the EFCC’S legal department, on Wednesday, May 25, stated that the anti-graft agency arrested Okorocha as a proactive measure to make him appear in court following his persistent refusal to take his plea in the money laundering charges levelled against him.
Justice Inyang Eden Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja had on Monday, March 28, threatened to strike out the N2.9 billion money laundering charges against Okorocha should the Federal Government fail again to cause his appearance in court.
After the Federal Government failed to serve charges on Okorocha as required by law, the judge threatened to dismiss the accusations. Advertisement
The Federal Government told Justice Ekwo on March 28 for the second time, through its counsel, Mr Cosmos Ugwu, that he had not been able to visit Okorocha and serve him with the allegations, according to Daily Post.
The counsel had informed the court that Okorocha had been dodging service, but that he would make every attempt and continue to make every effort until the former Imo State Governor was served with the court papers.
He had subsequently applied for another adjournment to enable EFCC do everything within its power to serve the court papers, in line with provisions of the law.
His excuse for not being able to reach Okorocha did not go down well with the Judge who reminded him that same story was played out on February 22 when Okorocha ought to have taken his plea, according to reports.
Justice Ekwo had said categorically that he was not going to continue to take flimsy excuses from the EFCC and would not help it to do its job.
The judge reluctantly approved the request for a second adjournment, warning the EFCC that if it did not show seriousness, the case would be dismissed.
The anti-graft agency was obliged to use force against Okorocha after he allegedly refused thrice to appear at the Commission’s office in Abuja for the sole purpose of serving him the charge, according to a source.
The source stated that, “EFCC is a civilized organization and would not take laws into its hand but suspects, especially highly placed ones should always try as much as possible to respect the law and due process so that the law can protect them.
“Arraignment in court is not a death sentence, so no one should take court for a ride or for granted.
”In Nigeria today, suspects can only run but cannot hide as in the case of Senator Okorocha,” he said. The source, added that nobody would be allowed to bail the Senator until after his appearance and arraignment in court on Monday, May 30