Ibrahim Magu, Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), said on Tuesday that the court action of outgoing governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, would not deter the anti-graft agency from investigating or arresting him after May 29.
Last week, Governor Okorocha dragged the anti-graft agency to the Federal High Court, Abuja, seeking protection of his fundamental rights.
The EFCC boss confirmed to Daily Independent on phone that “the governor has taken us to court before Justice Taiwo; we are to appear in court tomorrow (today)”.
Asked if Okorocha’s court action would prevent the commission from investigating or arresting him after May 29, Magu replied: “That is what he (Okorocha) is trying to do, but he can’t stop us.”
Daily Independent investigations revealed that the anti-graft agency was investigating the controversial governor over alleged financial misappropriation and money laundering.
One of the issues under investigation was the money meant for oil producing communities that was allegedly misappropriated.
Another ongoing investigation concerns a gigantic estate in Imo State said to have been built with government’s money but allegedly converted to his wife’s personal estate.
Some properties in London are believed to also be under investigation.
Magu, who just returned from the United Kingdom (UK), confirmed to a Lagos-based television station in the UK, on Monday, that he was in the UK to meet with investigators assisting the Federal Government in solving cases of money laundering and financial crimes.
Asked if an investigation of the governor was ongoing, Magu replied: “Definitely. Of course, we are doing a couple of checks and investigations here and there.”
He also said the commission had to get to a certain level before it could disclose any information about any ongoing investigation, and explained that this was necessary to prevent any action that could jeopardise or interfere with the process of the inquiry.
Last Friday, the EFCC’s Zonal Head for South-East, Usman Imam, told journalists in Enugu State that the anti-graft agency had frozen N5 billion funds belonging to the Imo State government because Okorocha spent so much money in a suspicious manner during the last general elections.
The EFCC further stated that the N8 billion Paris Club debt refunded to the state for the payment of salaries was allegedly mismanaged by Okorocha.
Imam said but for the commission’s timely intervention, over N5 billion would have allegedly been deployed in vote-buying by Okorocha’s administration.
He said: “About N7.9 billion is what has been blocked, although with pressure, subsequently, about N2.5 billion was released for salaries.
“On the whole, we have over N5 billion of those funds blocked; we are following up to see what actually happened.
“Honestly, what we discovered was that within two days, N700 million was withdrawn in cash; N200 million on the first day and N500 million on the second day, and all these monies were disbursed in a manner that was honestly unpalatable.”
On money laundering, the EFCC earlier arrested Governor Okorocha’s Accountant-General, Uzoho Casmir, for allegedly helping the governor to launder N1.05 billion for the last governorship and state Assembly elections.
Okorocha, who is a suspended member of the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), supported his son-in-law, Uche Nwosu of the Action Alliance, against the governorship candidate of the APC, Senator Hope Uzodinma.
An alleged EFCC classified report reads in part: “The EFCC Enugu Zonal Office, Thursday, March 8, 2019, arrested the Acting Accountant General of Imo State, Mr. Uzoho Casmir, on suspicion of laundering the sum of N1.050 billion through a new generation bank for the governor of the state, Rochas Okorocha.
“Uzoho’s arrest followed intelligence report that the governor intended to use the money for vote buying in favour of a particular candidate in tomorrow’s gubernatorial election.