Court Orders Final Forfeiture Of Hospital Facility Owned By Sitting Senator

Man Bags 15 Years In Prison For N5.2m Fraud

 

 

A Federal High Court sitting in Owerri, the Imo State capital has ordered the final forfeiture of a multi-million-naira hospital facility allegedly belonging to the senator representing Ideato North and South Federal constituency, Pascal Obi.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had on August 22, 2019, secured the interim forfeiture of the property from a Federal High Court in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, following evidence that the multi-million naira facility may have been acquired through fraudulent and corrupt activities.

According to the anti-graft agency, funds belonging to the Imo State Government were traced to the hospital after it was established that Mr Obi was a signatory to the government house account under the Rochas Okorocha administration.

Obi who was a Principal Secretary to the former governor, however, denied ownership of the facility.

The agency further stated in a statement, that the managing director of the hospital on invitation, could not give a clear account of how the hospital was funded.

Consequently, this prompted it to file for the forfeiture of the property on July 25, 2019, under Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud, and Other Related Offences Act 2006.

In granting the request for the interim forfeiture of the property, the court ordered the anti-graft agency to publish the order in a national newspaper, which was accordingly complied, asking interested parties to show cause why the property should not be forfeited to the federal government within fourteen days from the dates of the publications.

Upon the expiration of the 14-day notice and with no one showing interest in the hospital, the commission filed for the final forfeiture of the facility which was finally granted by the federal high court in Owerri.

Imo DPR Sets Up Laboratory To Checkmate Sale Of Adulterated Petroleum Products

file photo

 

The Department of Petroleum Resources, Owerri, Imo State, has set up a laboratory for petroleum quality analysis.

According to the Zonal Controller Operations of the DPR in the state, Peter Ijeh, the setting up of the laboratory is part of efforts to identify and checkmate sales of adulterated petroleum products in the state.

While showing journalists around the new laboratory, Ijeh said the agency will soon commence operations and serious sanctions await any independent marketer or groups found guilty of selling adulterated products to the public.

Appeal Court Judgement Vindicates My Victory As Imo Governor, Says Ihedioha

File: Emeka Ihedioha

 

Imo State Governor, Emeka Ihedioha has said that the Appeal Court judgment has vindicated the mandate delivered by the people of the state.

A five-man panel of the appellate court, led by Justice Oyebisi Omoleye, on Tuesday, affirmed Emeka Ihedioha’s victory as the Governor of Imo State.

Mr. Ihedioha while reacting to the judgement described it as a reaffirmation of confidence on Nigeria’s judicial system.

“The learned justices once again vindicated the mandate delivered to us by the good people of Imo State. We also tender our gratitude to the good people of Imo State, the PDP party faithful and our teeming supporters for your prayers, solidarity, and faith all through the process of the election petitions tribunal hearings and subsequent appeal.

“Their judgement today has reaffirmed our confidence in our judicial system.”

READ ALSO: Bayelsa Election: David Lyon, Buhari’s ‘Brand New Baby Boy’, Says Oshiomhole

He reiterated that he bears no ill against those with different political leanings who challenged the mandate freely given to him by the good people of Imo State.

“The Rebuild Imo Agenda is on course. I bear none of my adversaries no ill will. I harbour neither bitterness nor rancour. Just as I am, without any other plea than my earlier invitation that they should come and together, let us Rebuild Imo State.

“While I affirm that the effort is a collective one, I am not unmindful that there would be opposition on our path. But with God on our side, we shall rise above every mountain of antagonism, overcome layers of impediments and cross every Rubicon to deliver to our people quality infrastructure, functional welfare amenities and a prosperous economy.

“During the electioneering campaigns, I did assure our people that Imo State, under my watch would stand firmly on the rule of law. Indeed, this judgement today, once again, has strengthened our resolve to be guided by this solemn promise.”

Appeal Court Affirms Ihedioha’s Victory As Imo Governor

Ihedioha

 

The Appeal Court has affirmed Emeka Ihedioha’s victory as the Governor of Imo State.

A five-man panel of the appellate court, led by Justice Oyebisi Omoleye, delivered the judgment on Tuesday following an appeal filed by the Action Alliance, All Progressive Grand Alliance and the All Progressive Congress challenging the election of the governor.

All appellants argued in their appeal that the governor did not obtain the constitutionally required one-quarter of the votes cast in at least, two-thirds of the 27 local government areas of the state, as provided under Section 179 of the Constitution.

The appellants, therefore, prayed the court to set aside the decision of the tribunal and declare them the winner of the election or in the alternative order a rerun.

Read Also: Tribunal Affirms Ihedioha’s Election As Imo Governor

The court commenced the hearing with the appeal of Mr Uche Nwosu of the Action Alliance but the later upheld the preliminary objection by the PDP and Governor Ihedioha that the appeal was faulty.

According to the court, it ought to ordinarily dismiss the appeal but in line with the Supreme Court’s guidelines it decided to go ahead and determine the appeal.

After listening to and resolving all the issues raised by Mr Nwosu and the Action Alliance against the PDP, Justice Omoleye, ordered him to pay a sum of N500,000.

Determining the appeal filed by Senator Hope Uzodinma and the All progressive Congress, the court held that the tribunal had looked at the evidence loophole placed before it and that it is settled law that hearsay evidence is not admissible in court.

Consequently, issues 1,2,3 and 4 are resolved against Senator Uzodinma and the APC.

On issue three which bordered on the dismissal of documents, the appeal court resolved it in favour of Senator Uzodinma.

According to the court, the tribunal went out of its jurisdiction to resolve the issues but that notwithstanding, the appeal was lacking in merit and was, therefore, dismissed.

Consequently, a cost of N500,000 was awarded against the appellants.

However, in a dissenting judgment, one of the judges rejected the cross-appeal, filed by Governor Emeka Ihedioha and ordered him to pay the sum of 1 million naira to Senator Uzodinma and his party.

The court also dismissed the appeal filed by Senator Ifeanyi Arareume and the All Progressive Grand Alliance. and equally awarded a cost of N500,000 against the appellants.

Ihedioha Restates Commitment To Tackling Insecurity In Imo

File Photo: Imo State Governor-Elect, Emeka Ihedioha, speaks after receiving his Certificate of Return.

 

The Imo State Governor, Emeka Ihedioha, has reiterated his administration’s commitment to securing lives and property in the State.

While receiving the General Officer Commanding (GOC), 82 Division, Enugu, Brig. General Lasisi Adeboye and his entourage at the Government House, Owerri, Governor Ihedioha explained that although security had been a challenge in the state especially after the elections, there has been an improvement.

“It was challenging tackling insecurity in the state after the elections, but we have now found our rhythm in corroboration with the security agencies to deal with crime in the State.

“The Army has been working with us in tackling security challenges in the State” he said.

The governor further commended the Force for deploying General Adeboye to the 83 Division.

He said he was optimistic that with his wealth of experience, he would live up to expectation.

“We want to assure you of the commitment and readiness of the government and the good people of Imo State to corroborate with the Nigerian Army in general, the 82 Division and 32 Artillery Brigade, Obinze in particular”.

In his remarks, General Adeboye also commended the Governor for what he described as his unwavering commitment to ensuring the security of the people of the state.

EFCC Arrests 33 Suspected Internet Fraudsters In Imo

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), says it has arrested 33 suspected online fraudsters in Owerri, the Imo State capital as part of its efforts to clampdown on internet fraudsters across the country.

In a statement by its spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, the anti-graft agency explained that the suspects were arrested in their hideout by EFCC operatives from the Abuja and Enugu zonal offices.

Laptop computers, mobile phones, two Lexus SUVs and a Toyota salon car, were among the items said to have been recovered from them.

The arrest comes barely a day after the EFCC announced the arrest of a cybercrime syndicate which specialises in business email compromise in benin city, the Edo state capital.

They were said to have confessed to searching for victims’ email addresses, creating a phishing link and compromising the process in order to defraud them.

Okorocha Reacts To EFCC’s Sealing Of Properties In Imo

 

The former Governor of Imo state Rochas Okorocha has reacted to the sealing of his property, by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC).

According to Special Adviser on Media to Okorocha, in a statement, there was no prior invitation to the Managements of the Colleges and other establishments sealed by the Commission.

He explained that most of these establishments had preceded the governorship of Okorocha.

RELATED: EFCC Seals Rochas Foundation College, Other Properties In Owerri

See full statement below:

PRESS RELEASE

SUBJECT: SEALING OF ROCHAS FOUNDATION COLLEGE OWERRI WITH MORE THAN THREE THOUSAND STUDENTS & OTHER INVESTMENTS, BY AGENTS OF ENUGU OFFICE OF EFCC WITHOUT INVITATION OR INVESTIGATION.

-OBVIOUSLY, THE PDP GOVT. IN IMO INSTIGATED THE ACTION, WITH ALL THE CHIEFTAINS OF THE PARTY WHO FELT POLITICALLY DISPLACED FROM 2011 TO 2019 & GOVERNOR IHEDIOHA LAUNCHING WAR AGAINST SENATOR ROCHAS OKOROCHA, THE FAMILY AND OTHERS, IN THE STATE

  1. On Tuesday, July 23, 2019, as at about 6am, Agents of the Economic & Financial Crime Commission, EFCC, from its Office in Enugu with Hilux buses loaded with armed military and mobile Policemen stormed the Rochas Foundation College Owerri, with more than three thousand students, and most of them, orphans, and sealed the College.
  2. The Commission also sealed the East High College and Academy, Owerri with Uloma Rochas Nwosu as the proprietor, among other investments belonging to the former governor and family which the Commission Sealed.
  3. The action of EFCC with the presence of heavily Armed Military and Police Mobile Personnel frightened the students and most of them began to cry. It was a sympathetic scenario.
  4. What is obvious is that the PDP 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. And APC members. And that was why they needed INEC to declare their Candidate winner even when he didn’t meet the requirement. Unfortunately, they have instigated certain agencies like EFCC into taking some hasty actions following flood of petitions by them.
  5. 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 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 investigation in which the managements or the proprietors would have also been interrogated.
  6. Sealing the colleges and other properties because they belong to Rochas Okorocha’s family before investigation is what is difficult for us to comprehend especially when most of these establishments had preceded the governorship of Rochas Okorocha.
  7. The Rochas Foundation Colleges have existed in Imo and in several 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.
  8. What is happening in Imo at the moment is not governance. It is a total war against Rochas and his family, APC members, members of other parties and Opponents. They said they want to make the State uncomfortable for Opponents and they are doing it with recklessness.
  9. 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 family and should equally take cognizance of the Court Order in question.
  10. 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.
  11. We want to appeal to the EFCC to unseal the Colleges and other ventures they had sealed pending the outcome of the investigation they said they have begun. And also considering the stand of the Court of Competent Jurisdiction on the issue.
  12. The students of the Colleges, most of them without parents, cannot be allowed to suffer because of the action of a wicked government in the State. It is not all about Rochas Okorocha and the family, but about humanity and posterity.

Sam Onwuemeodo

Special Adviser (Media) to the former governor, Senator Rochas Okorocha

Suspected Cultists Set Imo Police Station Ablaze

Police Dismiss Inspector For 'Shooting And Killing Kolade Johnson'

 

Some suspected cultists have attacked a police station in Obowo Local Government Area of Imo State.

The Police Public Relations Officer, Orlando Ikeokwu, confirmed the report to Channels Television on Monday, adding that the hoodlums set the station ablaze and carted away firearms.

The hoodlums were said to have arrived the police station at about 2:00 pm on Monday chased off the few policemen on duty and carted away firearms belonging to the division.

Read Also: Gunmen Invade Police Station, Kill DPO, Three Others

Details later…

Youths Protest Over Environmental Pollution By Oil Company In Imo Community

 

 

Youths from Izombe community in Oguta Local Government Area of Imo state have staged a protest at the entrance of Seplat Oil Company.

The youths blocked the major entrance of the company, accusing them of continuous environmental pollution, neglect, and failure to employ youths in the community.

CBN Tackles Abuse Of Naira Notes In Imo

CBN Reviews Capitalisation Of Tier 2 Microfinance Banks

 

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has continued its fight against the abuse of Naira notes either by spraying at events, trampling on or squeezing.

The CBNs Director of Corporate Communications Department, Isaac Okorafor, reiterated that it would clampdown on any person or group culpable of such acts.

He said this at an interactive enlightenment session with stakeholders in Owerri, the Imo State on Monday.

According to him, the currency note is a symbol of the nations sovereignty and under the CBN Act, the abuse of the Naira note is an offence punishable by law.
He further stated that anyone caught in the act will either go to jail or pay the necessary fine according to the law.

Beyond the abuse of Naira notes, he said Nigerians can now go to their different banks to exchange any old currencies with new ones following a directive given to all banks in the country to bring back to the CBN all mutilated naira notes for new notes within a period of three months.

Generator Fumes Kill Six Wedding Guests In Imo

 

Six persons have been killed by generator fumes in Mbaitoli Local Government Area of Imo State.

The incident happened at a house in Umuomumu-Mbieri community.

Imo State Police Public relations officer Orlando Ikeokwu who confirmed the incident says 20 other people who are unconscious at the moment have been rushed to a nearby hospital for immediate treatment.

He says the victims affected were guests who attended a traditional marriage ceremony in the community.

He says the commissioner of police Imo State police command Rabiu Ladodo has ordered a full-scale investigation into the incident with a view to unraveling the mystery behind the tragedy.

Court Orders INEC To Issue Certificate Of Return To Okorocha

Okorocha Sets Up 21-Member Transition Committee

 

The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to immediately issue the Certificate of Return to the immediate-past governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, as the Senator-Elect for the Imo West Senatorial District.

Justice Okon Abang who made the order in a judgment on the suit filed by Okorocha,challengingINECs decision to withhold his certificate of return after he was declared the winner of February 23, 2019, National Assembly Election in the Imo West Senatorial District, described INECs action as lawless and arbitrary.

Justice Abang also held that Okorocha having been declared the winner of the election, INEC no longer had any legal authority to withhold a certificate of return due to him.

The judge held, once the declaration is made under section 68(c) of the electoral act, INEC has become functus officio and INEC has no lawful authority to withhold the certificate of return for any reason whatsoever.

He also held that the issue of duress is unknown to both the electoral act and the constitution of Nigeria.

READ ALSO: Imo Govt Sets Up 8-Man Committee To Probe Okorochas Administration

Justice Abang ruled that Okorocha remained elected subject to the outcome of the ongoing proceedings of the National Assembly election petition tribunal.

He, therefore, ordered, that INEC shall forthwith publish and circulate the name of the plaintiff as the senator-elect representing Orlu Imo West Senatorial District and also issue Okorocha the certificate of return as the Senator-Elect representing Imo West Senatorial District.

The judge also awarded the cost of N200, 000 against INEC in favour of Okorocha, while also ordering each of the seven defendants in the suit to pay Okorocha N100, 000 as damages.

The judge ordered the defendants to pay the costs personally to Okorocha before taking any further steps in the case.

Justice Abang added that the cost awarded against INEC would serve as deterrence to it from taking any future unlawful action.

INEC had refused to issue a certificate of return to Rochas Okorocha on the grounds that its returning officer who presided over the election complained to it that he declared the results under duress.