UPDATE: Okorocha denies N2.9bn fraud allegations, to remain in EFCC custody till May 31


 

Former Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha on Monday finally appeared before a Federal High Court in Abuja, where he pleaded not guilty to the N2.9 billion corruption charges brought against him by the Federal Government.

Okorocha was, on the 17-count charges, accused of diverting N2.9 billion from Imo State Government House accounts and that of Imo State Local Government Joint accounts to private companies.

The alleged fraud was said to have been perpetrated by Okorocha and one Anyim Inyerere with the use of their private companies between 2014 and 2016 when he held sway as the Executive Governor of Imo State.

Though he denied all the charges, Okorocha has however engaged the services of four Senior Advocates of Nigeria, SANs, comprising Okey Amaechi, Solomon Umor, Ola Olanipekun, and Kehinde Ogunwumiju to defend him from the grievous allegations against him.

Justice Inyang Ekwo who took his plea, however, ordered his further detention till May 31 when his bail application would be argued.

Shortly after taking the plea, EFCC counsel, Gbolahan Latona asked the judge for an adjournment to enable him to assemble his witnesses that will testify during the trial.

He informed the court that 15 witnesses have been arranged to testify against the All Progressives Congress, APC, presidential aspirant and that most of the witnesses are outside the court’s jurisdiction because of the peculiar nature of the charge.

Okorocha’s counsel, Okey Amaechi told the court that he had filed an application for the bail of his client and had also served the same on EFCC.

He attempted to argue the application but was opposed by the anti-graft agency which claimed that it intends to file a counter-affidavit against the bail issued.

Although the EFCC’S lawyer sought an adjournment to June 1 for arguments on bail, Justice Ekwo ruled that he would take all the bail applications on May 31 and directed the EFCC to endeavor to file its opposition within time.

Justice Inyang Ekwo subsequently ordered Okorocha’s further detention till May 31 when his bail application would be argued.

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