A Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Tuesday, ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), to stop further actions against the former governor of Imo State, Sen. Rochas Okorocha.
Justice Stephen Pam gave the order after Okorocha’s counsel Mr Ola Olanipekun (SAN), brought an application that the EFCC is not supposed to take further action against Okorocha.
Olanipekun had submitted that the EFCC was going against an earlier judgement delivered by the same court in suit number: FHC/ABJ/CS/45/2019, wherein it ordered the commission to release the international passport and traveling documents of Okorocha.
It was due to EFCC’s refusal to adhere to the judgement that made Okorocha to approach the same court in suit number: FHC/PH/FHR/165/2021 for the protection of his human rights that were under threat.
During Tuesday’s proceedings, Olanipekun informed the court that on December 6, 2021, a judgement was delivered in favour of Okorocha, which the applicant, EFCC, ought to obey or appeal; noting, however, that the Commission decided to contravene it.
He also told the court that despite its decision, EFCC has refused to release the international passport and travel documents of his client, Okorocha,
The counsel regretted that EFCC went and took to another disobedience to make another charge from the same issues ruled on, saying that it was contempt of court: “Today, it appears like no judgement was entered here.”
But, counsel for EFCC, N.A. Dodo, pleaded for time to respond to the processes, and informed the court that it got the application from the applicant on Monday, and denied that the EFCC was acting against the judgement of court.
Dodo also said that the commission had called on Okorocha to come and pick his passport and traveling documents, but he (Okorocha) had not responded.
He said: “My Lord, we are complying with the judgement. We have called him (Okorocha) to come and pick his passport, but he refused.”
Justice Pam said he was unhappy with the attitude of EFCC in the handling of the matter, noting that he would not tolerate contempt.
Pam, adjourned the case till February 14, for hearing, and warned both parties to obey court orders.
“I take exception to disobedience. Your organisation (EFCC) should not do anything to the applicant until this matter is determined.
“What is the order, obey it. If you are not okay with the judgement, go and appeal it. Don’t allow the drama that took place in my court in the matter between Peter Odili and Nigeria Immigration to take place here.”