From Blessing Ibunge, Port Harcourt
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has disclosed that, so far, it has returned about N6 billion to Imo state from the N7.9 billion recovered from the former government of Sen. Rochas Okorocha.
The Commission has, therefore, vowed that it would prosecute the former governor at the end of its investigation on the alleged embezzlement of the state fund.
The Zonal Head of EFCC Port Harcourt, Mr Usman Imam, disclosed this during a media briefing on the activities of the Commission within the last six months.
According to Imam: “The Commission also noted that it had already returned over N2.7 billion from the N7.9 billion recovered from different bank accounts and assets belonging to Okorocha.
“All the monies that were released to Imo state government were the monies so far recovered.
“The monies were released in batches. Even in the Government of Rochas, N2.7billion was released in March for salaries, then in the PDP Government of Emeka Ihedioha, excess of N2.5billion was released on writing and our insistent of monitoring it to pay salaries and pensions.
“So, they were monies recovered for the state, it has to go back to the state.
“Then when the government of Emeka left, this present government came, there is still a remnant of the money (Excess of N2billion), now we are able to release N514 million last month because of about N1.8 billion is encumbered with a court process. This is because some contractors went to court and targeted the funds and the court process is lingering, so they still have about N1.8 billion that is not released because of the court process.
“The N514 million was further released to the incumbent administration of the state to enable it meet it’s obligations to workers”.
The EFCC boss who further disclosed that some of the assets of the former Imo Governor have been marked for forfeiture at the end of court processes, added that he has been on the case right from when he was in Enugu.
“I started the Imo state case in Enugu. When I was deployed here, the Acting Chairman , Ibrahim Magu, saw the need for continuation of investigation on the case and urged me to continue with it. The investigation has gotten to advanced level, we are expecting that upon conclusion, we are going to arraign the former governor
“At the cause of the investigation, we targeted some of his assets in Imo and Abuja. We marked some of these properties in Abuja, we have even filed court processes for interim forfeiture of the assets.
“The target is that at the conclusion of this investigation, he should have his day in court.”
Speaking further on the achievement of the Commission, Imam stated that within the second quarter of the year, the commission recovered N291 million, adding that it has secured 16 convictions out of 22 prosecutions it commenced within the period under review.
“Within the period under review, the Commission was able to recover monetary assets worth N291,777,828.00, $847, 983.00, €390, £10,900 and 500 CFA.
“In terms of forfeiture, the Commission secured the forfeiture of 96 trucks/vessels/barges, albeit on interim basis. Also, 226 drums of Automotive Gas Oil and 1, 000,000 litres of suspected crude oil were finally forfeited to the federal government.”