Okorocha, wife, others to forfeit assets to EFCC

Magnus Eze, Enugu

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has said that more property linked to the immediate past Governor of Imo state, Senator Rochas Okorocha, were being marked and once ascertained, would be placed on interim forfeiture. 

The commission also disclosed that 10 suspects on the United States of America’s Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) list of online fraudsters have been traced to South East, Nigeria.

Zonal head of the anti-graft agency, Usman Imam, who made the disclosure at a press briefing in Enugu, yesterday, on their collaboration with the FBI, added that they would soon round up the suspects.

He stated that contractors, who worked for the Okorocha Government were being screened, while the agency was working diligently to trace wherever any of the state’s funds was diverted to.

Imam said that the investigation had progressed well despite some court processes, and listed assets traced to the Okorochas on interim forfeiture to include: 16 blocks with 96 flats; eight bungalow multi-million naira estate/hotel, two schools, one shopping plaza, one supermarket complex and an ultra modern hospital, all in Owerri, the capital of Imo State. He stated that the hospital was linked to one of the aides to the ex-governor.

“We’re working assiduously to make sure that every other asset traced and linked to illicit funds are targeted, forfeited in the interim and then to preserve the assets and subsequently ensure that they’re finally forfeited and returned for the benefit of the common person.

“In the case of Imo; it’s our hope that when ultimately these assets are forfeited; they should be returned to the victims which should be the people of Imo State. But there’re also procedures and processes. We do hope that we are able to get them forfeited; we won’t talk much, there are a lot of processes going on. We hope that very soon, we should update the public with developments about these things but the good news is that so many properties have been targeted and some are already on the interim forfeiture.

“There are a lot of other cases; we are talking to the contractors and what have you. What I’ll tell you is that if you investigate the government of eight years, it’s very tasking. It’s like you’re going to investigate every kobo that government earned and where they claim to have gone with the money. There’s a lot of wire transfer of monies. It’s very complicated but I think we’re up to the task; we’re not relenting. We’ll get to the root of it to prove at the end of the day that it doesn’t worth to take what belongs to all of us,” Imam stated.

Regarding cybercrimes, the EFCC zonal head said the zone arrested 88 suspected fraudsters since 2015 with 70 of them in 2019. Of the 59 successful convictions recorded in the zone, he said that 51 of them were among those arrested and prosecuted this year.

In addition to the N213.8 million and $10,600 so far recovered from the crime suspects in the zone, the EFCC revealed that 47 exotic cars, a twin three-storey building and duplex were also recovered from the Yahoo Yahoo boys.

He noted that twin three-storey building with a three bedroom bungalow and a duplex recovered in Enugu were awaiting forfeiture but for the court vacation.

Since cybercrimes could be committed across jurisdictions, Imam explained that any of the suspects on the FBI list could be tried either in Nigeria or the US, depending on where the suspects were arrested even as he did not rule out extradition.

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