ABUJA – The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has finally explained why its operatives invaded the Abuja home of Senator Rochas Okorocha on Tuesday.
The anti-graft agency said its operatives laid siege to the residence of Okorocha, a former Imo Governor, because of his refusal to honour the commission’s invitations.
The Commission alleged that Okorocha jumped an administrative bail it granted him.
It also alleged that attempts to arraign Senator Okorocha were stalled twice due to his absence after reportedly evading service of processes.
The EFCC made the clarifications in a statement by its Head of Media and Publicity, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren.
The statement reads: “Operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), today May 24, 2022, arrived at the Maitama, Abuja home of a former Governor of Imo state, Senator Rochas Okorocha, to effect his arrest.
“The move followed the refusal of the former governor to honour invitations after jumping the administrative bail earlier granted him by the commission.
“EFCC had on January 24, 2022 filed a 17-count criminal charge bordering on diversion of public funds and properties to the tune of N2.9 billion against Okorocha.
“The case was assigned to Honourable Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja but attempts to arraign Senator Okorocha were twice stalled owing to the absence of the ex-governor who evaded service of processes.
“At the last adjourned date, March 28th, 2022, Justice Ekwo before adjourning until May 30th, 2022, had warned that it was “the last adjournment I shall grant in this matter”.
“In the circumstances, the commission is left with no option than to effect the arrest of Senator Okorocha and bring him to trial.”
According to an aide of the Imo West Senator, the operatives, who allegedly came without arrest warrant, insisted on forcefully taking him away.
But discerning political observers have described the invasion as a ploy to prevent him for going for the All Progressives Congress (APC) screening of presidential aspirants scheduled for today.
Okorocha, a presidential aspirant on the platform of the APC, was holed up in the house.
Meanwhile, the ruling party is screening its presidential aspirants today. Twenty-four out of the 28 aspirants who purchased forms returned the forms. Okorocha is one of those who returned the completed nomination form.
Okorocha has been having a running battle with the EFCC.
On January 31, just hours after his declaration to run for the presidency in the 2023 elections and after delivering a rousing speech on how he would make Nigeria work again, the EFCC charged him with conspiracy and stealing N2.9 billion in 17 counts it filed before a Federal High Court in Abuja.
Other defendants in the suit are Anyim Nyerere Chinenye, Naphtali International Limited, Perfect Finish Multi Projects Limited, Consolid Projects Consulting Limited, Pramif International Limited, and Legend World Concepts Limited. (TheNiche)