Former Governor of Imo state, Senator Rochas Okorocha has described the Interim Order of forfeiture of the ten properties obtained by the state government through the court as belated and deceitful.
Naija News reports that a High Court sitting in Owerri on Wednesday granted an application filed by Louis Alozie (SAN) on behalf of the state government seeking the interim forfeiture of all properties illegally acquired by Okorocha while in office as the Governor of Imo State.
But in a statement on Friday released by his media aide, Sam Onwuemeodo, the Imo West Senator described the order as an after-thought.
He said the interim court order had further “exposed the double-standard of what we have in Imo today as a State Government”.
Okorocha added that the order had equally strengthened his consistent claim that, what is happening in Imo is a clear case of vendetta, envy, hatred and conspiracy by the state government against him and his family.
The former governor, who spoke through his special adviser media, said, Governor Uzodimma had briefed state house correspondents saying that he (Okorocha) distorted the Owerri master plan with the Royal Palm Hotel.
The statement read: “He (Uzodimma) also talked about the mystery Whitepaper as the tool on which they had relied on to invade and loot Okorocha’s properties.
“The same Monday, the Commissioner for Lands, Chief Enyinnaya Onuegbu also told the world, while on Channels Television that the Royal Palm Hotel distorted the Owerri Master plan. While the fence and gate of the Reach FM Radio were pulled down because they blocked the road.
“But in their application for an Interim Order of forfeiture last Wednesday, they never talked about the distortion of the Owerri Master plan again. They talked about illegally acquired properties. This is why the order is an afterthought, belated and deceitful. And with this Court order after they had invaded, looted and destroyed the properties in question leveraging on the Whitepaper, it only showed that they had acted wrongly, arbitrarily and unlawfully right from the outset.
“In other words, Gov. Uzodinma had admitted that he had acted earlier without the needed Court Order. It also proved that before the Court Order, they had acted arbitrarily. They have accepted too that they needed the Court Order and not the whitepaper, to do all they had done.
“Governor Uzodinma’s government also deceived the Court to give them an Order of interim forfeiture because they never let the Judge know that there has been an existing and valid High Court Judgement on the properties.”
The stastement added: “We are not talking about Interim Order, but judgement. And after looking at the facts on ground, restrained the State Government and its agents over these properties.
“Nigerians should also recall that long before now, following baskets of petitions written by the State Government to EFCC and ICPC against Okorocha, over these properties, on July 25, 2019, the EFCC got an Interim Order of forfeiture from a Federal High Court in Port-Harcourt in Suit No: FHC/PH/MISC/93/2019 and also sealed these properties. The Federal Government was the Applicant, with Okorocha and others as the Respondents.
“After thorough investigation and after detaching the facts from falsehood, on Friday, September 13, 2019, His Lordship, Hon. Justice J.K. Omotosho vacated the Interim Order of forfeiture granted to EFCC on July 25, 2019. What we have in Imo now as a government, never let Hon. Justice Njemanze to know of these developments.
“On February 10, 2021, the Destiny Solicitors, with A.O. Amagwula as Head of Chambers, specifically wrote to the Commissioner for Lands, Chief Enyinnaya Onuegbu, drawing his attention to a “Pending Matter in the Federal High Court, Owerri, with Suit No: FHC/OW/CS/146/2019, between the Federal Government and Rochas Anayo Okorocha and others involving these properties, including the Royal Palm Hotel. In the letter, Barr. Amagwula informed him that the matter came up last in December 2020, and was adjourned to 2nd and 3rd March, 2021. The letter was copied to the Attorney-General of the State. And in each Case, acknowledged.
“Yet, on Monday, February 15, 2021, the same Commissioner, a lawyer who should know better, invaded the Royal Palm Hotel and said he had sealed it. Then, the ugly event of Sunday, February 21, 2021 at the place, that would have claimed life.
“The question now is, with all these existing Court Cases and Judgement on the same issues, was it proper for the State to get a fresh Interim Court Order of forfeiture on the same Properties? We do not think so. It all showed desperation on the part of the government to get at Okorocha.”