A former Governor of Imo State, Senator Rochas Okorocha, has asked a Federal High Court in Abuja to quash the N2.9 billion money laundering charges brought against him by the Federal Government.
The former governor is claiming that the fraud charges initiated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on behalf of the Federal Government constituted a gross abuse of the court and a deliberate misuse of prosecution powers.
Recall that Okorocha was arraigned by the EFCC on May 30 on 17-count charges bothering on laundering of public funds to the tune of N2.9 billion while serving as governor of Imo State.
Justice Ekwo had on May 31 admitted Okorocha and his co-defendants to bail in the sum of N500 million with one surety in like sum.
In a preliminary objection against the charges filed by Okorocha through his counsel, Mr Ola Olanipekun (SAN), he gave six grounds for why the charges should be dismissed.
Among others, the former governor, now a Senator, claimed that the charge is an unlawful, baseless, oppressive, and gross abuse of the process of the court.
The federal lawmaker sought an order from the court that will discharge, and/or acquit him from the charges.
Olanipekun argued that the investigation upon which the charge was predicated was a subject matter of another suit instituted against EFCC by his client, hence, the current charge, as constituted amounted to an abuse of the court and the power to prosecute.
The senior lawyer explained in the preliminary objection that Okorocha had, in the earlier suit, sought declaratory and prohibitory orders that are still extant, at all times material, before and after the preferment of the
Okorocha, as the first defendant, was arraigned alongside Anyim Nyerere Chinenye, Naphtali International Limited, Perfect Finish Multi Projects Limited, Consolid Projects Consulting Limited, Pramif International Limited, and Legend World Concepts Limited as second to seventh defendants respectively.
Meanwhile, the court has fixed November 22 for the hearing of the preliminary objection
Justice Inyang Edem Ekwo fixed the date to allow EFCC’s counsel, Mr Gbolahan Latona, to respond to all issues raised against his client by Okorocha.
The judge said the application would be taken on the adjourned date and ordered all parties to file and exchange all necessary processes before the scheduled date.