Rochas Okorocha

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Monday threatened to strike out a money laundering suit by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against former Imo governor, Rochas Okorocha.

Justice Inyang Ekwo gave the warning following a complaint by Cosmas Ugwu, counsel for the EFCC, that all efforts by the agency to effect service of court processes on Mr Okorocha had been unsuccessful.

Mr Okorocha, who is expected to be arraigned on a 17-count money laundering charge, is the current senator representing Imo West Senatorial District.

Senator Okorocha, who is the 1st defendant, is to be arraigned alongside Anyim Nyerere Chinenye, Naphtali International Ltd., Perfect Finish Multi Projects Ltd., Consolid Projects Consulting Ltd., Pramif International Ltd., and Legend World Concepts Ltd.

Justice Ekwo had on February 22, adjourned the arraignment until March 28, after Mr Ugwu pleaded with the court over the agency’s inability to serve Mr Okorocha.

But, when the matter was called on Monday, Mr Ugwu informed the court that the matter had been slated for arraignment of the defendants.

He, however, said unfortunately the first defendant was yet to be served with the charge.

The EFCC counsel said several efforts made to effect the service so that all the defendants could be charged together were unsuccessful.

“In view of this, we plead with my lord to graciously accommodate us with an adjournment,” he said.

Justice Ekwo reminded Mr Ugwu that on February 22, when the case came up, he had given the same excuse.

“One month plus you are still coming to say you are yet to serve,” the judge said.

Justice Ekwo said though he would grant Mr Ugwu’s prayer for another adjournment, if he came up with the same excuse in the next adjourned date, the matter would be struck out.

“This will be the last time this matter will be adjourned,” he said.

The judge said the adjournment was to see how serious the commission was in prosecuting the matter.

He then adjourned the matter until May 30, for the defendants’ plea to be taken.