The recent invasion of officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of properties suspected to belong to Ex-Governor Owelle Rochas Okorocha, his wife, children and siblings, has caused stampede, disarray, discomfort and confusion among them. Rather than resort to declaring such properties publicly and returning them to the government of Imo State, those affected are known to have since sold some of them at rock-bottom prices.
First to mortgage hers was Mrs Geraldine Obinali, who on assumption of office as sister General of Douglas House Owerri, acquired former “Mr Fans” eatery at Mbari street, Ikenegbu.
A recent check at the former “Tweeter Bites” reveals that the property does not belong to Geraldine Obinali anymore. To prove how serious they are, stolen government chairs and other looted items were thrown out just to prevent the Public Property Recovery Committee, led by Hon. Jasper Ndubuaku, from storming and searching the place for stolen government items.
Meanwhile, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has intensified manhunt for Rochas Okorocha’s family members to allowing revelations that his siblings especially the males have resorted to selling most of their properties at give away prices.
Our source hinted that even though those properties were not built or bought in their names, a lot of people in the state and outside are aware of where the properties are located or sited except for those who have been in Imo or seen them come to supervise the properties from the foundation stages.
It was further revealed that most of such properties are located at former Government Reserved Area (GRA), DSS/Shirleaf Johnson Road axis, adjoining areas around the New Police Command, off Port Harcourt Road and so many other places in Owerri.
The source also narrated how one of their property managers (name withheld) from Benue state, who was contracted to supervise the buildings approached him to come and buy some of the properties at give away price, with the assurance that he will protect the ownership of the property should he buy.
This development, he hinted, is as a result of the activities of the Imo Public Property Recovery Committee, led by Hon. Jasper Ndubuaku, who they had severally accused of invading peoples home without prior notice and the fear that more of such properties owned by them would soon be brought to public knowledge for possible confiscation or forfeiture.
Worst hit in this arrangement is Mr. Gerald Okorocha, who our reporter alleged was virtually supervising all the ministries and was popularly known as “Apex” connoting supremacy of his directives even above the then deputy governor, Prince Eze Madumere. “His estates in and outside Owerri are more than that of Dr. Pascal Obi, former Principal Secretary, who did not only build students hostel but estates, one of which is located at Akwakuma, off Timber/ Umudagu Mbieri road. He also built the biggest specialist hospital in Owerri which locates along Onitsha road”, the source stated.
The effort to reach Mr. Gerald Okorocha for his reaction proved abortive as his phone lines did not go through.
However, a close family member to the governor claimed that those properties even though owned by them, are not in their names and there is nothing anyone can do about it, else their proxies will drag them to court for unlawful encroachment or trespass into the properties.
It would be recalled that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had in recent stormed Imo State and sealed off properties mainly belonging to the governor’s wife and his siblings. The Governor had also in one of the occasions boasted that his wife is richer than past Governors in Imo state, including himself but did not emphatically state what business the wife was into, to allow her acquire such primitive wealth.
This claim by Okorocha did not go down well with Imo people as some of them argued that even at a time workers we’re paid 70% of their salaries and pensioners owed so many years of pension, he awarded N20 billion contracts to his Zigreat Company and used a whopping N700 million to build or erect Akachi Tower, implying that, he values the mundane much more than the well-being, continued existence and lives of Imolites.