FORMER Imo State governor Senator Rochas Okorocha has been denied bail by an Abuja federal high court today after he filed a suit requesting that he be set free following his arrest by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Tuesday.
Earlier this week, EFCC operatives invaded Senator Okorocha’s residence following what they described as his refusal to honour an invitation after he was alleged to have jumped the administrative bail earlier granted to him. Senator, Okorocha, currently the lawmaker representing Imo West Senatorial District, was subsequently whisked away and remanded in custody.
He since filed a bail appeal through his lawyer Ola Olanipekun but the request was denied by Justice Inyang Ekwo, who ordered Senator Okorocha to put the anti-graft agency on notice. In an ex-parte motion, Mr Olanipekun had prayed the court to grant Senator Okorocha bail on liberal terms pending the hearing and determination of motion on notice filed on May 25.
This ex-parte motion was dated and filed May 26 but Justice Ekwo held that since the matter would be coming up on Monday, making an order for the release of the lawmaker on bail would be unnecessary. Justice Ekwo, who fixed May 30 for the hearing of the motions, directed Mr Olanipekun to put the EFCC on notice.
Justice Ekwo had, at the last adjourned date, given the EFCC May 30 as the last time the matter would be adjourned following complaints that it had been unable to serve Senator Okorocha despite several efforts. The judge had threatened to strike out the case if the EFCC failed to produce the senator in the next adjourned date, after two adjournments for his arraignment.
Senator Okorocha, an APC presidential aspirant, is standing trial alongside others on allegations bordering on money laundering while he served as Imo State governor. He and his co-accused are expected to be arraigned before Justice Ekwo on Monday.