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Friday, June 24, 2022

Seizure Of Okorocha’s Properties: Court Dismisses Appeal Filed By Imo State

A three-man panel of the Court of Appeal, Wednesday, dismissed the appeal filed by the Attorney General of Imo State and forty others challenging the ruling of an Owerri Federal High Court, which granted Senator Rochas Okorocha the leave to amend processes filed before the court.

The presiding judge, Justice Dattijo Yahaya, dismissed the appeal, following a notice of discontinuance dated and filed on March 16 by the Attorney General of Imo State, Cyprain Akaolisa, on behalf of the appellants.

Counsel to Senator Rochas Okorocha, Oba Maduabuchi, opposed the withdrawal of the appeal on the ground that the appellants want to deceive the court by pretending to discontinue the appeal and go back to Imo State and complete what they intend to do before returning to the court.

He said the appellants were only interested in humiliating Okorocha by marking his properties and those of his associates for demolition during the pendency of the suit before a Federal High Court in Owerri and the appeal before the Court of Appeal.

Justice Yahaya, however, struck out the appeal on the premise that an appellant has the right to withdraw an appeal following a notice of discontinuance properly filed before the Court.

Speaking to journalists shortly after the ruling, Okorocha’s counsel, stated that, “the appeal was against the ruling of a lower Court allowing us to amend our processes. Imo State government jumped to the Court of Appeal, saying that it was wrong to allow us to amend our processes.

“They filed their brief, I filed my brief and filed an objection that the appeal is incompetent. Then we filed a motion that every step they have taken, including the arrest and humiliation of Rochas Okorocha during the pendency of this matter must be set aside by the Court of Appeal.

“We served them with that Motion, they have not filed a counter to it, they went ahead to mark properties belonging to Rochas and his associates for demolition based upon the proceedings of the panels of inquiry that took place during the pendency of both this Appeal and the matter in the lower Court, which is abuse of process of Court”.

“Now they have achieved their objective which is to humiliate Rochas, to take over his properties, they have withdrawn the appeal, so what can be more abusive of the process of Court than that.

“When the matter is pending in the Court of Appeal you go and round up proceeding in your panel on enquiry, while the matter is pending in the Court of Appeal you go and forfeit the properties of Rochas Okorocha, you went and marked his properties for demolition. This is the impunity we have been shouting about, people do things the way they want to do it and not the way the law asked them to do it.

“How can you file an appeal you know is incompetent, then while the appeal is pending in the Court of Appeal, you now ask your panels of inquiry to conclude and submit their reports and you issue white paper, seal people’s houses, mark them for demolition while the appeal is pending in the Court of Appeal, that is obviously an abuse of Court process.”

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