The Federal High Court sitting in Owerri has ordered the forfeiture of Dews of Hope hospital allegedly owned by an aide to the immediate former governor of Imo State and serving senator, Rochas Anayo Okorocha.
Nigeria’s anti-corruption agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC initially secured an interim forfeiture of the property on August 22, 2019 from a vacation Judge, Justice A. T Mohammed of Federal High Court, Port Harcourt.
EFCC investigation kicked-off after the commission was tipped swith evidence that the property may have been acquired through proceeds of illicit activities. Consequently, as funds from the Government House, Owerri were traced to the hospital.
The property is a N1.5 Billion state-of-the-art 200-bed hospital EFCC’s Head, Media & Publicity, Wilson Uwujaren noted that “the Commission’s investigation revealed that Dr Paschal Obi, former Permanent Secretary and Principal Secretary to then-Governor Okorocha, now a serving member of the House of Representatives, was a signatory to the accounts.”
However, Obi, like members of the board of the hospital, vehemently denied ownership of the medical facility.
“The managing director of the hospital on invitation, could not also explain how the hospital was funded. “These developments led the Commission to file for the forefeiture of the property on July 25, 2019 under Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud, and Other Related Offences Act 2006.
“In granting the request for the interim forfeiture of the property, the court ordered the anti-graft agency to publish the Order in a national newspaper,” After fourteen days which was the duration granted for the notice and no one showed up to explain why the property should not be forfeited, EFCC filed for the final forfeiture of the facility. According to the report, the hospital located at the heart of Owerri metropolis had an adjourning staff and doctor’s quarters.
This happened a day after the court on Thursday sentenced the former governor of Abia state, Orji Uzor Kalu to a 12 years imprisonment for corruption practices.