By Onyinyechi Amakaulo
Despite leaving Government House, Owerri, to Abuja as Senator Representing Orlu zone, their appears to be no moment of respite for former governor of Imo State, Owelle Rochas Okorocha since he left office.
Okorocha has been battling a war to avoid being probed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC and lately several panels set up by the Imo State government over the manner he ran the affairs of the state in the last eight years.
Apart from the EFCC who had earlier beamed its searchlight on Okorocha over how he managed funds due to the state from 2011 to 2019, the successive government in Imo set up several probe panels to investigate his stewardships.
Trumpeta investigations have it that the moment after he left office, several of his property and that of family were sealed by EFCC before a court allowed him access. Recall that Okorocha had been locked in battle with anti graft agencies and police to avoid entrance into any of his houses for search purposes.
Barely a week to mark his year of departure from Government House, Owerri, Okorocha is still battling to get off the hook of EFCC investigation and probe panels inquires.
A report Trumpeta monitored online has it that the Ideato born politician has again approached the court to specifically want the EFCC to end or suspend its investigation including all the petitions submitted to it by the Imo State Government until the panel on contract set up by the same Government has concluded its probe.
“In a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/558/2020 filed on May 18, Okorocha through his counsel, Oba Maduabuchi (SAN) advocated that the following; the Attorney General of Imo State; members of the Judicial Commission on Lands and Related matters, members of the panel to investigate the activities of ISOPADEC; members of the panel to investigate the status of the newly established Tertiary institutions; members of the investigative committee for financial transactions in Imo State; Committee for the Review of appointments recruitments and related matters from 2015 till date and the Committee for the investigation of LGA, be barred to stop investigation on him
The former governor is asking the court for a declaration of the court that having reported the alleged financial infractions said to be committed by him during his tenure as governor of the state to the EFCC, and the Commission having commenced the investigation of the purported infractions reported against him and which investigation is still ongoing, it is unlawful, illegal, null, void and of no effect for the Attorney General of Imo State, which made the report to the EFCC in the first place to also, and during the pendency of the said investigation, set up the Commission or panel of inquiry to investigate the same financial improprieties already being investigated by the EFCC.
A declaration that by setting up the probe panel, the Attorney General of Imo State has by implication admitted that it was still looking fit facts that will ground the investigation by the EFCC and thus the Commission cannot engage in any speculative investigation but should suspend all its investigation activities until the probe panel has finished its probe and found anything worth investigating before it can commence its own criminal investigation.
The plaintiff want a declaration that subjecting him to simultaneous investigation by the EFCC and members of the Imo State probe panel on contracts awards from May 2006 to May 2017) for financial infractions during his tenure as governor of Imo State between May 2011 and May 2019 based upon the facts and the same report is unconstitutional and against the spirit of double jeopardy.
In his statement of claim, the plaintiff stated that he is facing double investigation one by the EFCC and the other by the probe panel on award of contracts.
Even as no date has been fixed for hearing, Trumpeta was informed that this is one of the numerous cases the former governor had filed in law court to stop his probe.
After failing to honour an invitation of the panel of Inquiry on contract of the Imo State Government, he also went to court to ask for declaration stopping the panel to invite him. The matter is still slated for hearing.