A Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State has asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to stop further action against the former Governor of Imo State, Senator Rochas Okorocha until the determination of the case before it.
Senator Okorocha had through his lawyer, Ola Olanipekun (SAN) approached the Federal High Court presided over by Justice Stephen Pam to seek the enforcement of some orders, earlier made in his favour in a case between him and the anti-graft agency.
According to Olanipekun, the court on December 6, 2021 granted the prayers of his client and ordered the EFCC to stop the prosecution of Okorocha after faulting the process of investigation adopted by the agency.
The court also prohibited the EFCC from investigating or carrying out any other action against the former governor, while asking the anti-graft agency to release his international passport and travel documents.
Olanipekun said the orders were predicated on the case they brought before Justice Pam when the EFCC last year carried out an investigation and announced its outcome in the media that his client mismanaged the sum of N5.7 billion when he served as Governor of Imo State without inviting the Okorocha for interrogation, an action he says was an abuse of his fundamental right to a fair hearing and presumption of innocence.
At the resumption of proceedings on Tuesday, Olanipekun said he returned to the same Federal High Court 4 to seek the protection of the right of his client because the EFCC has refused to obey any of the three orders earlier made.
He accused the EFCC of going ahead recently to prefer fresh charges against his client based on the same investigation which the court invalidated in December.
But, Counsel to the EFCC, N.A. Dodo, pleaded for time to respond to the processes.
He denied that the EFCC was going contrary to the judgement of the court, adding that the Commission had called on Okorocha to come to pick his international passport and travel documents, but that he (Okorocha) had not responded.
However, the trial judge, Stephen Pam, said he was not happy with the attitude of EFCC on the matter, noting that he would not tolerate contempt.
“I take exception to disobedience. Your organisation (EFCC) should not do anything to the applicant until this matter is determined,” Justice Pam said.
“What is the order, obey it. If you are not okay with the judgement go and appeal it. Don’t allow the drama that took place in my court in the matter between Peter Odili and Nigeria Immigration to take place here.”