Rochas Okorocha
Rochas Okorocha

Senator Okorocha’s arrest was politically motivated — Family Sources

NEWS DIGEST – Family members of Mr Rochas Okorocha have said Tuesday’s arrest of the serving senator by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission was politically motivated.

Family sources told the News Digest that the EFCC was trying to undermine Mr Okorocha’s political ambition and only moved to arrest the senator, who represents Imo West, after he “declared and organised a meeting uniting all the south-east APC presidential aspirants.”

Mr Okorocha, one of the aspirants who will contest the APC presidential primaries, was arrested at his Maitama residence in Abuja after the EFCC laid siege at the house for more than six hours.

The team of EFCC agents and policemen broke into his house through the roof after he had denied them entry through the door.

EFCC explains arrest
After making the arrest, the spokesperson of the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, said Mr Okorocha had jumped administrative bail and frustrated efforts to conclude his ongoing corruption trial.

Mr Uwujaren said: “EFCC had on January 24, 2022, filed a 17-count criminal charge bordering on diversion of public funds and properties to the tune of N2.9billion against Okorocha.

“The case was assigned to Honourable Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja but attempts to arraign Senator Okorocha were twice stalled owing to the absence of the ex-governor who evaded service of processes.”

Mr Uwujaren added that Justice Ekwo had warned he would no longer adjourn the case against Mr Okorocha beyond his next trial on May 30 and would strike out the case if he was absent yet again.

“In the circumstances, the Commission is left with no option than to effect the arrest of Senator Okorocha and bring him to trial,” he said.

Family questions legality of the arrest
But Mr Okorocha’s family describe the more-than-six-hours siege of their home as an “illegal invasion” and questioned the narrative of the EFCC that they had issued several invites to the senator.

“Contrary to EFCC’s claim, there are no documents proving they invited Sen. Rochas Okorocha for questioning prior to the illegal invasion,” the family said.

While the attempt was made to arrest Mr Okorocha, the senator pleaded to report to the EFCC office after his screening and participation in the upcoming APC primary elections but the request was denied by the commission, according to the family.

They added that the officials at the house initially claimed they were sent by the EFCC Director of Operations to invite Mr Okorocha for an interview but began to accuse him of jumping bail after his request.

Mr Okorocha had previously secured a court order barring the EFCC from arresting him.

His lawyer, Ola Olanipekun, told Punch Newspapers on Wednesday that any invitation made by any security agency that was not preceded by a letter of invitation or notice would be considered prejudicial.

He added the EFCC had also failed to report to Mr Okorocha’s residence with an arrest warrant.

vanguard newspaper today