Absence of judge stalls hearing of Okorocha suit against Imo State, EFCC, others

The absence in court of Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Federal High Court, Abuja on Wednesday stalled the  hearing of a suit filed by former Imo State Gov., Rochas Okorocha, who is seeking an  order to stop the state government from probing him.

 Though no reason was given by the clerk  for Justice Mohammed absence, it was learnt that it may be unconnected with the ongoing  judges conference.

 The judge had on Sept. 22, fixed  November 17,  for the hearing of Imo State government and other defendants  applications challenging the Court jurisdiction to hear the suit .

At the last adjourned date, Okoroch’s counsel, Oba Maduabuchi (SAN), had urged the court to fix another date to take the motions, on the ground that he was bereaved.

His prayer for adjournment was not opposed by counsel to defendants in the suit, including the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Senator Okorocha, who currently represents Imo West Senatorial District, in his  suit filed on May 28, 2020, and marked FHC/ABJ/CS/508/20 had urged the court to restrain the EFCC and others from probing him.

While the EFCC is the 1st respondent, the 2nd to 48th respondents are the Attorney General (AG) of Imo and members of the seven panels set up to probe previous administrations in the state.

On June 29, the plaintiff  had brought a motion praying the court to make an order setting aside the seizure and sealing of some of his property by the state government.

He also specifically asked the court to restrain the defendants from investigating him or implementing the recommendations of the seven panels set up to probe him while he served as the state governor between June 2006 and May 2019, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.

The defendants including Imo State government and specifically the 44 defendant counsel Eze Duri-Ihuoma (SAN),  who is appearing for himself in the matter, are arguing in the processes filed in court that Okorocha no longer enjoy immunity. 

Therefore he is subject to probe and prosecution for his alleged misdeeds.
According to them his immunity ended the day  he left office as the executive governor of Imo State .”He wants that immunity  extended,” the Court had no such jurisdiction .