The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says it has returned N5.7 billion out of the N7.9 billion seized from the former governor of Imo State and Senator representing Imo West Senatorial District at the National Assembly, Rochas Okorocha.
The Zonal Head of the commission, Usman Imam, who disclosed this today during a press conference, said the monies were released to the Ihedioha and Uzodinma administrations for the payment of salaries and pensions.
“I started the Imo state case in Enugu and upon my deployment to this zone, the investigations of corruption allegations against the former Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, was transfered from the Enugu zone to Port Harcourt for further investigations.
Within the period, the commission succeeded in freezing about N7.9bn in different accounts. All the monies that were released to Imo State government were from the N7.9bn recovered from Okorocha. The monies were released in batches.
N2.7bn was released in March for salaries. In the PDP government of Emeka Ihedioha, excess of N2.5bn upon series of writings and our insistence of monitoring it, was released to pay salaries and pensions because they were monies recovered from the state so it has to go back to the state.
Then the government of Emeka left and this government came, we had a remnant of the money in excess of N2bn. We were able to release N514milion just last month because excess of about N1.8bn is encumbered with a court process. Contractors went to court and targeted the funds. The process is lingering. They still have excess of N1.8bn that is not released” he said
Imam added that asides the money recovered from Okorocha, the senator’s assets were also identified in Imo and Abuja and seized by the commission. He said the commission has filed a court process for interim forfeiture of the assets confiscated from Okorocha.
“The investigation has got to an advanced stage and we are expecting that on conclusion, we are going to arraign the former governor. It is in the course of investigations that we targeted his assets. Some are in Imo, Owerri and some are in Abuja. We marked these properties in Abuja and we have filed court processes for interim forfeiture of these assets. The target is to conclude the investigations and he will have his day in court”.
Okorocha was governor of the state for 8 years, from 2011 to 2019.