An Imo State High Court sitting in Owerri, has ordered the final forfeiture of properties said to have acquired through “illegal means” by former governor of the state, Rochas Okorocha, and his wife, Nkechi.
The forfeited properties are listed in the Imo State Government white paper report on recovery of lands and other related matters.
In February, the court had ordered the interim forfeiture of all the properties.
The court had also asked Okorocha to show cause as to why a final and absolute order of forfeiture should not be given following an application brought to it by Louis Alozie on behalf of the state.
However, the former governor had approached a Federal High Court in Abuja to set aside the order.
Okorocha had also asked the judge, Ahmed Mohammed, to restrain the defendants from investigating him or implementing the recommendations of the panels set up to probe previous administrations in the state, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.
But delivering judgement on Monday, Justice Fred Njemanze, who is due for retirement tomorrow (Tuesday), said Okorocha’s counsel failed to give concrete and verifiable reasons why a final and absolute forfeiture order should not be given in favour of the Imo State Government.
Njemanze said the suit filed against the Imo State Government by Okorocha’s counsel was not properly handled and that there is no reason why the forfeiture should not be made final.
He said the white paper gazette by the Imo State Government is a legally-binding document, adding that the state government can go ahead and do whatever it deems fit with the properties.
The judge also ruled that persons who might have purchased said properties are at liberty to approach the court to prove their titles.
The properties include Eastern Palm University, Ogboko; Royal Spring Palm Hotels and Apartments; IBC staff quarters illegally acquired for the purpose of Rochas Foundation College, Owerri; Magistrate quarters, Orlu road/cooperative office/Girls Guide illegally converted to private use housing market square; Kilimanjaro eatery; public building, Plot B/2 Otamiri South Extension Layout given to the Ministry of Women Affairs for establishing a skills acquisition centre for women, illegally acquired for the benefit of Nneoma Nkechi Okorocha’s all-in stall, Aba road.
Others are Plot P5, Naze residential layout, initially part of primary school management board but now annexed to all-in stall, Aba road belonging to Nkechi Okorocha, and all the properties contained from pages 226 to 272 of the government’s white paper on the recommendation of the judicial commission of inquiry into land administration in Imo State from June 2006 to May 2019.