Our Reporter, Abuja
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has given reasons for the overwhelming presence of its operatives at the Abuja home of the former governor of Imo State, Chief Rochas Okorocha.
Operatives of the Commission on Tuesday invaded the Maitama Abuja home of the former governor and presidential aspirant under the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
A statement by Wilson Uwujaren, EFCC’s Head of Media and Publicity said the anti-graft agency came to effect the arrest of Okorocha.
According to the EFCC spokesman, the action followed Okorocha’s refusal to honour invitations after jumping administrative bail 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 N2.9billion against Okorocha,” the statement said.
The statement read: “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 N2.9billion 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.”
Okorocha who was earlier billed to appear before the APC presidential screening committee today was reported to have pleaded with EFCC to allow him going for his screening, a plea that appear to have fallen on deaf ears.
”All I am asking is to be allowed to go for my screening because I am a presidential aspirant and our election comes up on Sunday. If I am not allowed to go for this screening, I might miss it.
”I am not an unknown person in the country. I have an address and people know me in the country. All what it takes for the EFCC is to send me an invitation and I will gladly oblige,” the former governor was quoted as saying.
His counsel Chief Ola Olanipekun (SAN) had described the attempt by the EFCC to arrest the Senator without a search warrant as a violation of his fundamental human rights.