Rochas Okorocha and his co-defendant Anyim Nyerere in the n3.1bn alleged fraud
The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has ordered the former Imo state Governor and presidential aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Rochas Okorocha to remain in the custody until he perfects the conditions attached to his bail.
Justice Inyang Ekwo made the order after admitting the ex- governor to bail in the sum of N500m and one surety in the like sum.
Equally admitted to bail by Justice Inyang Ekwo is his co-defendant, Anyim Nyerere who were all sighted in a 17-count money laundering charge.
In the case of Nyerere, the court ordered that he should continue on the administrative bail granted him by EFCC, for exhibiting good conduct while on bail.
The Court ordered that Okorocha’s surety must have a property in Abuja not below N500m and the original title documents of the property must be deposited with the court registrar.
It further held that the original title document must be taken to Abuja Geographical Information System(AGIS) for verification.
Thereafter, the registrar will swear to an affidavit on the report of his findings.
In addition, Okorocha’s traveling documents must be deposited with the court registrar and that he must not travel out of the country without the permission of the court.
The Court also held that Nigerian Immigration Service(NIS), must be alerted in writing by the Court registrar that the Passport of the former governor is in the custody of the court and should not be allowed to travel out of the country without an order of court.
Justice Ekwo held that although bail is at the discretion of the court, however that circumstances and conduct of the first defendant (Okorocha) will not make the court to admit him to customary bail conditions.
In the case of the 2nd defendant, the court observed that since he did not tamper or jump his administrative bail given to him by the EFCC, he should remain on same.
Justice Ekwo finally ordered that Okorocha should remain in the custody of the EFCC until the bail conditions are met.
Meanwhile the court has adjourned the matter to November 6,7,8,9,10 and 11for the commencement of trial.
Okorocha who was arraigned on Monday pleaded not guilty to the 17-count charge preferred against him and six others by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
The ex-governor, who is currently the Senator representing Imo West, had initially declared his intention to contest for presidency in the 2023 general elections.
He was however arrested by operatives of the agency, few hours before his political party, the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, screened its presidential candidates.
His arrest was predicated on his alleged refusal by the former governor to make himself available for trial, as the prosecution agency accused him of deliberately evading service of the charge on him.
Okorocha who took his plea before Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Abuja division of the Federal High Court, was arraigned alongside a chieftain of the All Progressive, APC, Anyim Nyerere Chinenye, and five companies- Naphtali International Limited, Perfect Finish Multi Projects Limited, Consolid Projects Consulting Limited, Pramif International Limited, and Legend World Concepts Limited.
The anti-graft agency had in the charge, alleged that the defendants sequentially siphoned funds from the Imo State Government House account and Imo State Joint Local Government Project account, and diverted same into accounts of private firms.