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Court Orders Final Forfeiture Of ‘N1.5bn Hospital Linked To Okorocha’s Aide

A federal high court sitting in Owerri, Imo state capital, has ordered final forfeiture of Dews of Hope Hospital, Owerri, a N1.5 billion state-of-the-art 200-bed hospital, allegedly linked to an aide of Rochas Okorocha, a former governor of Imo state and serving senator.

Based on an application filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), T.G Ringin, judge of a federal high court in Port Harcourt, had given an interim forfeiture of the property on August 22, 2019.

The EFCC had told the court that it had evidence that the facility was acquired through “proceeds of illicit activities”, saying funds from government house, Owerri were traced to the hospital.

The commission said its investigation revealed that Paschal Obi, former permanent secretary and principal secretary to Okorocha was a signatory to the accounts.

Obi, now a serving member of the house of representatives, has denied ownership of the medical facility.

Wilson Uwujaren, spokesman of the EFCC, said when he honoured the invitation of the commission, the managing director of the hospital, could not also explain how the project was funded.

“These developments led the Commission to file for the forefeiture of the property on July 25, 2019 under Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud,and Other Related Offences Act 2006,” Uwujaren said in a statement.

“In granting the request for the interim forfeiture of the property, the court ordered the anti-graft agency to publish the Order in a national newspaper, which was accordingly complied with in the Nation Newspaper of August 30, 2019 and Leadership Newspaper of September 3,2019 respectively, asking interested parties to show cause why the property should not be forfeited to the federal government within fourteen days from the dates of the publications.

“Upon the expiration of the fourteen day notice and with no one showing interest in the hospital, the Commission filed for the final forfeiture of the facility.”

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