‘N2.9bn fraud’: Court grants Okorocha N500m bail

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A federal high court in Abuja has granted bail to Rochas Okorocha, former Imo state governor.

Inyang Ekwo, the judge, granted him bail in the sum of N500 million and a surety in like sum.

The EFCC had, on May 24, besieged the Abuja home of the senator representing Imo west.

Operatives of the commission, in an attempt to disperse supporters of the former governor as well as journalists, shot sporadically in the air and also fired tear gas, after which they broke into Okorocha’s home and forcefully arrested him.

The commission had said the arrest was necessitated by Okorocha’s refusal to attend his trial.

He was then arraigned on a 17-count charge of money laundering to which he pleaded not guilty on Monday.

Okorocha was arraigned alongside Anyim Chinenye, a chieftain of the All Progressives (APC) and five companies — Naphtali International Limited, Perfect Finish Multi Projects Limited, Consolid Projects Consulting Limited, Pramif International Limited, and Legend World Concepts Limited.

At the court session on Tuesday, Solomon Umoh, who moved Okorocha’s bail application, prayed the court to grant his client bail on liberal terms.

Ruling on the bail application, Ekwo held that the circumstances and conduct of the first defendant (Okorocha) will deter the court from granting him customary bail conditions.

Ekwo ordered that Okorocha’s surety must be a responsible citizen with a landed property in the like sum of the bail granted.

The judge also directed Okorocha to deposit his international passport with the registry of the court and should not travel outside the jurisdiction of the court without the court’s permission.

Similarly, he ordered the court registry to inform the Nigerian Immigration Service that Okorocha’s international passport was in its custody.

The judge added that the former governor should remain in the custody of the EFCC until his bail conditions are met.

Consequently, he was taken away by the anti-graft commission.

This means that if the former governor fails to perfect his bail conditions today, he will miss out on the screening of presidential candidates by the All Progressives Congress (APC) which ends today.