APC Chieftain Rochas Okorocha Gets Favourable Judgement in Court, Cleared of N2.9bn Fraud Charge
- The Federal High Court in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) has cleared Senator Rochas Okorocha of the alleged N2.9 billion fraud charge levelled against him
- Justice Iyang Ekwo, who presided over the case, ruled that the suit filed by the EFCC contravened the law
- The ruling by Justice Ekwo also means that other parties involved in the suit have been cleared of the allegations against them
FCT, Abuja - The former governor of Imo state, Senator Rochas Okorocha has been cleared of the alleged N2.9 billion fraud charges levelled against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
As reported by the Daily Trust, Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday, February 6, struck out the EFCC suit against the lawmaker.
On why the case was struck out, Justice Ekwo ruled that the suit contravened Section 105 (3) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), 2015, which gives the Honourable Attorney-General (HAGF) of the Federation the power to recall a case.
Justice Ekwo said that the directive of the AGF and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, in a letter dated September 12, 2022, to the anti-graft agency to forward the case file as well as the EFCC’s comments on the issues for consideration and review was binding on the commission.
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“All that the law required of the respondent (EFCC) was for the respondent when directed by the HAGF, pursuant to any enactment, is to comply and not act as if it is not under the law or is exempted thereby.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the office of the HAGF is founded on the provisions of the constitution and is thereby preserved.
“The controversies and drama surrounding this trial proceeding is needless and it is time to stop it.”
Court questions AGF's directives
Justice Ekwo further ruled that from the moment the AGF gave the directive to the EFCC, the commission ceased to have the legal authority to prosecute or continue the prosecution of the case.
Furthermore, Justice Ekwo agreed with the defendants that the earlier judgment of a court of coordinate jurisdiction sitting in Port Harcourt in suit number: FHC/PH/FHR/165, between Okorocha and EFCC, retraining the agency from further proceeding on the alleged offence had not been set aside.
According to him, the order is binding until it is set aside.
“The fact that a person refuses to comply with the law does not change the law, neither does the law change to accommodate the act of non-compliance by any person.
“What happens when a person elects not to comply with the law is that the law turns its back on the person.
“When that happens, every action or decision taken by such person in the process of non-compliance becomes illegal and the court will set aside such act of non-compliance ex debito justitiae.
“This is so because there is no machination that can be used to salvage an illegal act.”
Machina vs Lawan: Supreme Court gives final verdict over APC senatorial ticket in Yobe North
In another development, the Supreme Court on Monday, February 6, ruled in favour of Senate President Ahmad Lawan in the case involving himself and Bashir Machina.
The duo has been in a thug of war on who is the rightful APC senatorial candidate for Yobe North.
The apex court on Monday declared Lawan as the winner of the APC primary election and established that Machina's suit against him was without oral evidence.