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Okorocha calls Uzodinma bluff, says interim forfeiture order on his properties belated, deceitful

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The verbal fights between Senator Rochas Okorocha and the Hope Uzodinma-led government of Imo State seem to be getting intense as the former has issued a statement regarding the Interim Order of forfeiture of ten of his properties obtained by the state government through the court.

Okorocha described the interim order as belated and deceitful.

It would be recalled that a High Court sitting in Owerri, the state capital presided over by Justice Fred Njemanze had on Wednesday granted an application filed by Louis Alozie (SAN) seeking the interim forfeiture of all properties illegally acquired by Senator Rochas Okorocha while in office as the Governor of Imo State.

Okorocha, who now represents Imo West Senatorial District in the National Assembly, further said the interim court has exposed the double-standard of Imo as a State Government.

The senator, who spoke through his special adviser on media, Sam Onwuemeodo, said, Governor Uzodimma had briefed state house correspondents saying that he (Okorocha) distorted the Owerri master plan with the Royal Palm Hotel.

“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 statement read.

Okorocha recalled that in Suit No: HOW/947/2019, Hon. Justice T.N. Nzeukwu gave Judgement on the properties on Monday, September 7, 2020.

“We are not talking about an 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 a 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 a 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,” the statement added.

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