Home Politics Court struck out Okorocha’s prayer to stop probe panels

Court struck out Okorocha’s prayer to stop probe panels

Senator Rochas-Okorocha

The request by a Senator Rochas Okorocha who currently represents Imo West and the former governor of Imo State to issue an order of interim injunction to halt the investigation of his eight-year administration by the various probe panels set up by the state government was turned down yesterday by the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja.

Okorocha had on May 18, 2020 filed his suit seeking an order stopping the respondents in the suit from probing “the purported financial infractions” said to have been committed during his tenure as Imo State governor. He (Okorocha) wants the court to hold that he could not be probed by both the EFCC and the probe panels simultaneously.

Justice Ahmed Mohammed ruled that rather than issue a restraining injunction, he would take the undertaking by government’s lawyer, Mr Joseph Mola, to advise the probe panels to suspend sitting pending when the court will decide whether or not it has jurisdiction to hear Okorocha’s suit.

Joined as defendants in the suit are the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Imo State Attorney General and members of five different panels constituted by the state government to investigate various activities of the Okorocha-led administration.

Okorocha is praying the court to, among others, “direct the 1st defendant (EFCC) and the 3rd to the 10th defendants (the Imo State Attorney General and the Justice Iheaka-led probe panel on contract awards) to stay all further actions and proceedings until the 2nd defendant (the state AG) decides who should carry out the investigation.”

In yesterday’s proceeding, The EFCC was not represented, but Rochas was represented by Oba Maduabuchi (SAN), as Joseph Mola stood for the Imo State AG and the rest of the 3rd to the 48th respondents. Oba Maduabuchi notified Justice Mohammed of his client’s pending motion seeking an injunction to stop the probe panels’ investigations.

But Mola, in response, urged the court to enforce the directive of the Chief Judge of the court that cases should be transferred to where the disputes leading to the suits arise; stating that the particular case be transferred to the Owerri Division of the Federal High Court in Imo State where the cause of action arose.
Okorocha’s representative objected to the submission, but the judge directed that Joseph Mola should file a formal application to which the plaintiff and the respondents could respond. The judge then adjourned till July 14 for further proceedings.