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Imo High Court orders final forfeiture of Okorocha’s property to State Government

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A state high court sitting in Owerri the Imo state capital has ordered the final and absolute forfeiture of the Royal Palm Springs Hotel and Other property contained in pages 226 to 272 of the Imo state Government white paper report by a Judicial Commission of Enquiry on Recovery of Lands and other related matters, property which is said to belong to the Former Governor of Imo state Senator Rochas Okorocha and some other members of his family.

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According to the ruling by Justice Fred Njemanze of the State High Court who is sitting as a vacation Judge, he held that the counsel to Senator Rochas Okorocha 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.

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Justice Njemanze added that the suit filed against Imo state Government by Counsel to Senator Rochas Okorocha was not properly filed maintaining that the white paper gazzette by the Imo State Government is a legally binding document.

The Judge concluded that there is no concrete reason before it why the forfeiture should not be made absolute and final, hence the Imo state Government can go ahead and do whatever it deems fit to do with the properties.

As for persons who might have made purchases on such property Justice Njamanze said they are at liberty to approach the court to prove their titles, however, the properties as at today have been returned to the Imo State Government.

Justice Fred Njamanze had on the 26th of February 2021 given an interim order of forfeiture on the said property urging Senator Rochas Okorocha to approach the court to show cause as to why a final and absolute order of forfeiture should not be given over the property following an application brought by Mr. Louis Alozie, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, on behalf of the state government.

This prompted counsel to Senator Rochas Okorocha to file a preliminary injunction to stop the final forfeiture citing forceful eviction and that the suit by the Imo State Government was not properly instituted.

Following the Judgment by an Owerri high court ordering complete forfeiture of some property linked to Former Governor of Imo state Senator Rochas Okorocha including the controversial Royal spring palm hotel, Counsel to Senator Rochas Okorocha, Oba Maduabuchi SAN describes the ruling as an act of Perfidy that cannot stand.

According to him, The crux of his preliminary objection is that all the property said to have been forfeited were subject of litigation in various courts in Imo state as far back as 2019 and 2020 where Over 47 cases pending in relation to this The courier subject matter are still pending in various courts. He added that the Judge out of his own wisdom did not follow the normal procedure but hastily gave judgment in Favour of the state government. He says his client will no doubt appeal the judgment.