Senator Rochas Okorocha has vowed to appeal the ruling of the final forfeiture of his properties to the Imo State Government.
Naija News earlier reported that an Owerri High Court had ordered the final forfeiture of some properties belonging to the former Imo governor and other members of his family.
According to the ruling by Justice Fred Njemanze, Okorocha’s counsel failed to give concrete and verifiable reasons why a final and absolute forfeiture order should not be given in favour of the state government.
The judge, however, ruled that the Imo government can take over the properties, asking persons who might have made purchases on such properties to approach the court to prove their titles.
But in a statement signed by his media aide, Sam Onwuemeodo, Okorocha alleged that final forfeiture of his properties was acquired through “illegal means”.
The former governor also berated the presiding Judge, Justice Fred Njemanze, for doing the bidding of the Imo state government, accusing him of ‘bias’.
The statement reads “On February 24, 2021, Justice Fred Njemanze of Owerri High Court, gave Interim forfeiture order in favour of Governor Hope Uzodinma led State Government over personal properties of Senator Rochas Okorocha and his family.”
“Cases involving the properties in question or in Contention, have been going on since 2019 and 2020 in various Courts of Competent Jurisdiction, including the Federal High Court in Owerri, Imo State.”
“Following this unexpected interim forfeiture order, Okorocha’s lawyers, led by Chief Obah Maduabuchi, SAN, felt that Justice Njemanze must have been deceived into giving the Interim forfeiture Order over properties the Cases on them, have been going on in various Courts of Competent jurisdiction, since 2019 and 2020.”
“Against this backdrop, Okorocha’s lawyers filed Preliminary objection to the matter in Justice Njemanze’s Court. The essence being to draw his attention to the on going Cases on the properties he had given interim forfeiture order against.”
“On Tuesday, August 3, 2021, Justice Njemanze sat. The lawyers in the matter argued on the preliminary objection. Chief Obah, SAN, stood for Okorocha, while Chief Louis Alozie (SAN) stood for the Imo State Government. The Court sat for almost the whole day.”
“Justice Njemanze reserved ruling on the Preliminary objection and told the lawyers that they would be Communicated on the date.”
“On Wednesday, August 4, 2021, the Court registrar sent message to the lawyers, that the Court would sit on Friday, August 6, 2021 for lawyers to adopt their processes, in lieu of the expected ruling on the Preliminary objection.”
“On the Friday, August 6, 2021, Lawyers were in Court till 3pm. Justice Njemanze did not come. He did not sit. Lawyers left and those involved left.”
“In other words, by Friday, August 6, 2021, neither the expected ruling on the Preliminary objection was given, nor the adoption of the processes as Contained in the text message of Wednesday, August 4, 2021, took place.”
“On Monday, August 9, 2021, while lawyers in the matter were expecting to hear from the Court on the next line of action, the information came that Justice Njemanze had given Judgement in the matter, not on the Preliminary objection, but on the main case and without lawyers adopting their processes.”
“In the ruling, he gave absolute forfeiture order, on the properties in question which matters on them, have been going on and still going on in Courts of Competent Jurisdiction. And in less than 24 hours to his retirement. He is retiring on Tuesday, August 10, 2021.”
“Justice Njemanze has enrolled as “ungun Judicial known man”.
“He wanted to finish the unfortunate job he had begun on February 24, 2021 before going on retirement on Tuesday, August 10, 2021. This can not be taught to any law student. It is an invasion of Justice and stampede of judicial processes. His parting gift for the Judiciary and the Society at large, is nauseating. May God bless him as he retires from service. He would have refused to be used. That would have been more honourable.”
“He only justified or aided the desperation of the State Government to take over personal properties of Okorocha and the family. Truth shall prevail over vendetta and envy.”