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Tuesday, August 16, 2022

EFCC Slams N2.9bn Fraud Charges Against Okorocha

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)  has charged Nigerian senator and former governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, with allegations he conspired with others, including an APC politician and five companies, to steal N2.9 billion from public coffers.

The 17 count charges were filed by the EFCC on Monday at the Federal High Court, Abuja, according to Premium Times.

In addition to Okorocha, other defendants are Anyim Nyerere Chinenye, Naphtali International Limited, Perfect Finish Multi Projects Limited, Consolid Projects Consulting Limited, Pramif International Limited, and Legend World Concepts Limited.

The charges were filed about the same time Okorocha was declaring his intention to run for the office of the president in 2023.

Okorocha, 59, was a two-term governor of Imo State, serving from 2011 to 2019 when he lost an intense political battle to instal his son-in-law and Chief of Staff, Uche Nwosu, as a successor. He, however, succeeded in winning the Imo West senatorial election for himself as a candidate of the APC. The returning officer alleged he was forced to declare Okorocha the winner under duress, making INEC delay issuing him a certificate of return.

His co-accused, Nyerere, open-source searches show, was the APC governorship candidate in the 2015 Abia State election and currently serves as a commissioner at the National Pension Commission.

Nyerere features in all the 17 charges and is accused of conspiring with Okorocha to steal and launder N2.9 billion belonging to Imo State and local government areas in the state in contravention of the Money Laundering Act 2011. As CAC searches by Moneycentral showed, he owns or controls three of the charged companies, namely Consolid, Pramif, and Legend World, all registered in Abuja.

According to the EFCC charges, the stolen funds were diverted between October 2014 and February 2016 from the Imo State Government House account and Imo State Joint Local Government Project account.

Timeline of the alleged diversions

1. February 11, 2014: N67,500,000 – conspiracy between Okorocha, Nyerere, and Perfect Finish Multi Projects Limited
2. August 28, 2014: N486,000,000 – conspiracy between Okorocha, Nyerere, and Perfect Finish Multi Projects Limited
3. October 14, 2014: N900,000,000 – conspiracy between Okorocha, Nyerere, and Naphtali International Limited
4. August 4, 2015: N279,000,000 – conspiracy between Okorocha, Nyerere, and Naphtali International Limited
5. February 10, 2016: N243,000,000 – conspiracy between Okorocha, Nyerere, and Consolid Projects Consulting Limited
6. February 10, 2016: N200,000,000 – conspiracy between Okorocha, Nyerere, and Consolid Projects Consulting Limited
7. February 10, 2016: N243,000,000 – conspiracy between Okorocha, Nyerere, and Pramif International Limited
8. February 11, 2016: N243,000,000 – conspiracy between Okorocha, Nyerere, and Perfect Finish Multi Projects Limited
9. February 12, 2016: 243,000,000 – conspiracy between Okorocha, Nyerere, and Legend World Concepts Limited.

Meanwhile, as searches showed, Nyerere remains a director of Consolid, Pramif, and Legend World even as he holds a public office, potentially breaching Nigeria’s code of conduct laws

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