May 24, 2024

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COURT TO EFCC: Leave Okorocha alone

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By Mark Vwoghor, PH

PORT HARCOURT: A Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, has ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to stop forthwith further actions against the former Governor of Imo State, Sen. Rochas Okorocha.

The trial judge, Justice Stephen Pam, gave the order yesterday following an application brought before it by counsel for Sen. Okorocha, Mr Ola Olanipekun, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria.

The order came following the submissions of Olanipekun, that the EFCC was going against the judgement of the same court in suit FHC/ABJ/CS/45/2019 wherein the court ordered the Commission to release the International passport and travelling documents of the defendant among other decisions of the court.

Following the refusal of the Commission to adhere to the judgement of court, Okorocha, in suit number FHC/PH/FHR/165/2021, approached the same court for the protection of his human rights that were under threat.

Olanipekun at the resumption of proceedings yesterday, reminded the court that on the 6th of December, 2021, that it entered a judgment in favour of Okorocha, but that instead of the applicant, EFCC, to obey the judgement or appeal it went ahead to contravene it.

Olanipekun further informed the court that despite its decision that EFCC has refused to release the International passport and travel documents of his client, Okorocha, saying, “Today it appears like no judgement was entered here.”

The counsel regretted that EFCC went and took another disobedience to make another charge from the same issues ruled on, saying that it was contempt of court.

But, Counsel for EFCC, N.A. Dodo, had told the court that it only got the application from the applicant on Monday, pleading for time to respond to the processes.

He denied that the EFCC was going contrary to the judgement of court, adding that EFCC had called on Okorocha to come and pick his passport and travelling documents, but that he (Okorocha) had not responded.

“Mr Lord we are complying with the judgement. We have called him (Okorocha) to come and pick his passport, but he refused,” he said.

However, the trail judge, Stephen D. Pam, said he was not happy with the attitude of EFCC on the matter, noting that he would not tolerate contempt.

Pam said: “I take exception to disobedience. Your organization (EFCC) should not do anything to the applicant until this matter is determined.

“What is the order, obey it. If you are not okay with the judgement go and appeal it. Don’t allow the drama that took place in my court in the matter between Peter Odili and Nigeria Immigration to take place here.”

He, however, adjourned till 14th for hearing, warning that all orders made by the court must be obeyed by the parties.

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