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EFCC, Imo Govt’s Challenge Of Court Jurisdiction On Ex-Gov Okorocha’s Suit Gets Nov. 17 Date

Owelle Rochas Okorocha
Owelle Rochas Okorocha

September 23, (THEWILL) – The Federal High Court, Abuja, presided over by Justice Ahmed Mohammed, has adjourned till November 17, 2021, hearing on a motion challenging its jurisdiction to entertain the suit filed by the former Imo Governor, Rochas Okorocha, seeking to stop the EFCC and the state government from confiscating his properties.

The court had, last month, fixed this Thursday to take various motions filed in the matter, which has the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as 1st Defendant, the Attorney General of Imo State, as 2nd Defendant and all the members of seven different panels set by the  Imo State Government, listed as 3rd to 48 defendants.

When the matter came up on Thursday, Okorocha’s counsel, Chief Oba Maduabuchi (SAN), informed the court of the death of his head of Chambers, Emeka Okoye, two weeks ago.

He said he could not file a response to the processes filed by defendants because he could not lay hands on the case file until Monday when the office of the deceased lawyer, who had been handling the matter, was opened and asked the court for an adjournment.

However, he requested that the motion for joinder filed by Donez Global Services Limited be taken.

Chief Olusola Oke (SAN), representing the 2nd Defendant and counsel to others in the matter, commiserated with Maduabuchi on the death of his Head of Chamber but objected to his request for the court to hear the joinder application as they (defendants) are challenging the jurisdiction of the court to hear the suit.

“Once an issue of jurisdiction is raised in a matter, it has to be resolved first before any other issue”, Oke said, a position which other defendants agreed to.

Consequently, the trial Judge adjourned the matter till November 17, 2021, to hear the motion challenging the jurisdiction of the court to hear the suit filed by the former Imo State Governor.

Okorocha, currently representing Imo West Senatorial District in the Senate, had sought the protection of the court to prevent the confiscation of his property by the EFCC and Imo State.

The request was opposed by EFCC and the Imo State Government on the ground that the court has no jurisdiction to hear Okorocha’s suit and grant his prayers during the vacation of the court, contending that the suit was not the type that can be heard during court vacation.

They further argued that Okorocha did not meet the condition precedent for the matter to be heard during vacation, adding that the fiat of the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court ought to be sought and obtained before such matter can be heard during vacation.

EFCC and Imo State cited Order 46 Rule 5 of the Federal High Court Civil Procedures Rule 2019, which they held was allegedly breached by Okorocha while filing the fresh motion.\