The Abuja division of the Federal High Court has released former Imo state governor and presidential aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Rochas Okorocha on bail pending his trial in alleged money laundering charge.
The court however ordered that he should be remanded in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) pending the time he meets with the conditions attached to his bail.
Eeually admitted to bail by Justice Inyang Ekwo is his co-accused, Anyim Nyerere who were all sighted in a 17-count money laundering charge.
While Okorocha granted bail in the sum of N500m and one surety in the likesum, Nyerere is to continue on the administrative bail granted him by EFCC.
The Court ordered that Okorocha’s surety must have a property in Abuja not below N500m and the original title documents of the property must be deposited with the court registrar.
It further ordered that the original title document must be taken to Abuja Geographical Information System(AGIS) for verification.
Thereafter, the registrar will swear to an affidavit on the report of his findings.
In addition, Senator Okorocha’s traveling documents must be deposited with the court registrar and that he must not travel out of the country without the permission of the court.
That Nigerian Immigration Service(NIS), must be alerted in writing by the Court registrar that the Passport of the former governor is in the custody of the court and should not be allowed to travel out of the country with an order of court.
Justice Ekwo held that although bail is at the discretion of the court, however that circumstances and conduct of the first defendant (Okorocha) will not make the court to admit him to customary bail conditions.
In the case of the 2nd defendant, the court observed that since he did not tamper or jumped his administrative bail given to him by the EFCC, he should remain on same.
Justice Ekwo finally ordered that Okorocha should remain in the custody of the EFCC until the bail conditions are met.
Meanwhile the court has adjourned trial to November 6,7,8,9,10 and 11.
Okorocha who was arraigned on Monday pleaded not guilty to the 17-count charge preferred against him and six others by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
The ex-governor, who is currently the Senator representing Imo West, had initially declared his intention to contest for presidency in the 2023 general elections.
He was however arrested by operatives of the agency, few hours before his political party, the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, screened its presidential candidates.
His arrest was predicated on his alleged refusal by the former governor to make himself available for trial, as the prosecution agency accused him of deliberately evading service of the charge on him.
Senator Okorocha who took his plea before Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Abuja division of the Federal High Court, was arraigned alongside a chieftain of the All Progressive, APC, Anyim Nyerere Chinenye, and five companies- Naphtali International Limited, Perfect Finish Multi Projects Limited, Consolid Projects Consulting Limited, Pramif International Limited, and Legend World Concepts Limited.
The anti-graft agency had in the charge, alleged that the defendants sequentially siphoned funds from the Imo State Government House account and Imo State Joint Local Government Project account, and diverted same into accounts of private firms.