By Damian Duruiheoma, Owerri
Former governor of Imo State and member representing Imo West Senatorial District, Senator Rochas Okorocha, has accused the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission of peddling falsehood against him, saying the commission did not recover any money from him.
Okorocha’s outbursts followed reports credited to the Head of the Port Harcourt zone of the EFCC, Mr. Usman Imam, claiming at a press conference on Thursday that he recovered N7.9 billion from Senator Okorocha while he was in charge of the Enugu zone of the commission.
The EFCC chief was also quoted to have talked about Okorocha’s property marked in Owerri and Abuja by the commission.
Reacting to the allegations in a statement issued on Friday in Owerri, Okorocha stated that the anti-graft agency or anybody else never recovered N7.9 billion or any other amount of money from him.
The former governor challenged the commission to prove him wrong by publishing details and owners of the accounts the said money was recovered from.
He also challenged the EFCC to publish the details of the said property it marked and seized from him, emphasizing that the property marked had been acquired by him about twenty years ago.
According to him, the commission was misinformed by those who were after him, saying, therefore, that he would be expecting a retraction of the story and public apology from the EFCC in the coming days if the commission could not publish details of the so-called N7.9 billion
The statement signed by his media adviser, Sam Onwuemeodo, reads: “The EFCC as a commission or Mr Usman Imam as a person and Head of Enugu zone then, and today, that of Port Harcourt Zone, of the commission, never recovered N7.9 billion or any other amount of money, from Rochas Okorocha
“With this denial, we therefore challenge the EFCC or Mr. Imam as the one who made the claim, to prove us wrong by publishing details of the bank accounts the money was found and the owners of the accounts.
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“We hold the EFCC and its personnel in a very high esteem. And we expect the commission or Mr. Imam to take our denial very serious, because Nigerians of goodwill would like to know who is saying the truth or who is lying.
“Where the commission finds out that it had misinformed the public and had also blackmailed the former Imo governor, perhaps unconsciously, we expect the commission or Mr. Imam to do the needful, which is to retract the media statement and then tell Nigerians the correct story. The N7.9 billion in question must be in bank accounts. Let the EFCC publish the accounts’ details without delay.”
The statement further adds, “Mr Imam talked about properties owned by Okorocha which the commission had marked. It is also important that Mr. Imam publish those properties because the properties marked had been acquired by Okorocha about twenty years ago. Since Mr. Imam has begun media trial, let the properties be also published for Nigerians to know the truth.
“We have repeatedly told this story, that before the 2019 election, the PDP elements in Imo had written to the EFCC, alleging that Okorocha had planned to use all the state funds to finance the election of his choice candidates. The EFCC, leveraging on the petitions, seized all the accounts of the state, including the ones meant for the payment of salaries, pensions, severance allowances and so on. We have made this particular claim severally and the EFCC or any other interested person or persons have never faulted our claim.”