A Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on Tuesday ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to desist from taking any further action against the former Governor of Imo State, Senator Rochas Okorocha, over alleged N5.7bn fraud.
The court ordered the anti-graft agency to wait until the determination of another case before it.
Senator Okorocha, who was represented by Ola Olanipekun (SAN), had approached the court, presided over by Justice Stephen Pam, seeking the enforcement of some orders earlier made in his favour in a case between him and the EFCC.
According to Olanipekun, the court on December 6, 2021, granted the prayers of his client and ordered the EFCC to stop the prosecution of Okorocha after faulting the process of investigation adopted by the agency.
The court also forbade the EFCC from investigating or carrying out any other action against the former governor, while asking the anti-graft agency to release his passport and any other travel documents.
Olanipekun said the orders were predicated on the case they brought before Justice Pam when the EFCC last year carried out an investigation and announced in the media that his client mismanaged the sum of N5.7 billion when he served as governor of Imo State without inviting him (Okorocha) for interrogation, an action he says was an abuse of his fundamental right to fair hearing and presumption of innocence.
He accused the EFCC of going ahead recently to prefer fresh charges against his client based on the same investigation which the court invalidated in December.
He denied that the EFCC was going contrary to the judgement of the court, adding that the Commission had called on Okorocha to come to pick his international passport and travel documents, but that he (Okorocha) had not responded.
However, Justice Pam said he was not happy with the conduct of the EFCC on the issue, noting that he would not tolerate any contempt of court.
In his words: “I take exception to disobedience. Your organisation (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.”