This is definitely not the best of times for the embattled former Governor of Imo State, Senator Rochas Okorocha as there are indications that the present administration in the state is determined to implement fully the government White Paper based on the outcome of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry report.
Investigation revealed that Imo state government is targeting no fewer than 33 choice properties alleged to belong to the state but have been illegally acquired by Okorocha and his family members including his in-laws during his 8 years reign in Imo state.
Among the properties targeted for recovery include but not limited to landed properties, moveable and non moveable equipments like IRROMA caterpillars, bulldozers, payloaders, graders, etc, acquired by the state during ex-Governor Ikedi Ohakim regime.
Earlier this week, Justice Fred Njemanze of the Imo State High Court, Owerri, had ordered an interim forfeiture of all the properties illegally acquired by the former Governor Okorocha who was in office from 2011 to 2019.
The order was sequel to an application brought by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Louis Alozie.
The suit with case No. HOW/191/2021 had Okorocha’s wife, Nkechi Okorocha, Incorporated Trustees of Rochas Foundation and Okorocha as the first, second and third respondents respectively, against the Attorney-General of the State.
In a motion ex-parte brought pursuant to Section 472(1) of the Imo State Administration of Criminal Justice Law No. 2 of 2020, Louis Alozie (SAN), applied for interim forfeiture of the following properties allegedly acquired by Okorocha illegally: Eastern Palm University, Ogboko; Royal Spring Palm Hotels and Apartments ; IBC staff quarters illegally acquired for the purpose of Rochas Foundation College, Owerri; Magistrate Quarters, Orlu Road/Cooperative Office/Girls Guide illegally converted to private use housing Market Square, Kilimanjaro Eatery; public building plot B/2 Otamiri South Extension Layout given to the Ministry of Women Affairs for establishing a skills acquisition centre for women illegally acquired for the benefit of Nneoma Nkechi Okorocha’s All-In Stall, Aba Road.
Others include Plot P5 Naze Residential Layout initially part of Primary School Management Board but now annexed to All-In Stall, Aba Road belonging to Mrs. Nkechi Okorocha, and all the properties contained from pages 226 to 272 of the Government White Paper on the recommendation of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Land Administration in Imo state from June 2006 to May 2019.
The application was, among others, based on the ground that, “these public properties were converted to personal use by the 1st-3rd respondents and their cronies for which the applicants now intends to recover them in line with the White Paper by the Judicial Commission of Inquiry’s report.
Sources in Imo state government told newsmen that contained in the long list of items the Judicial Commission of Inquiry set up by the regime of ex-Governor Emeka Ihedioha by adopted by Governor Hope Uzodinma’s regime directed to recover from Okorocha are:
Royal Palm Apartments Hotel; Eastern Palm University built with Imo money but personalized by Okorocha and the Old Imo Broadcasting Corporation (IBC) premises at Orji, Owerri.
Others are the Nekede and Orji Mechanic Villages; Westbrook Hotels, Owerri and the recovery of IRROMA equipment worth billions of Naira as well as the recovery of Imo Transport Company (ITC) vehicles and investments among other things.