Various news outlets had gone to town with the report that 5.7 Billion Naira out of 7.9 Billion Naira “seized from Okorocha” have now been released to the Imo State government. Our investigations have shown that this is not only sensational but can qualify as an outright falsehood.
What really happened is that politicians who didn’t know what Okorocha and his camp were up to in the run-up to the 2019 elections had sponsored some people who approached the EFCC with petitions, alleging among other things that the former governor and APC chieftain had saved up some slush funds in some State government accounts with which he planned to buy votes and prosecute election logistics and expenses. The EFCC acting on the strength of these petitions decided to freeze the affected accounts, thereby stopping the Okorocha administration and its officials from withdrawing money from those accounts.
Okorocha had explained then and still insists that the monies were not in anyway connected to electioneering budget, but was meant for payment of pension arrears. Officials of the Okorocha administration had insisted then, that the a committee set up by the Okorocha administration to carry out extensive forensic audit of pension claims was at the verge of completing its assignment and the money was to be used to offset their pension arrears before or immediately after the elections.
Maybe, Okorocha had a formidable political structure on the ground that his opponents thought that the only way they could stop him was by starving him of funds. The eventual outcome of the election may have proven that the EFCC’s seizure of the money did not affect Okorocha’s performance at the elections, as most analysts believe that he performed better than expected and a lot of people still believe that, outside the conspiracy by some powerful forces, his son-in-law actually won the governorship on the first ballot.
The EFCC head of SouthSouth zone, Usman Imam did not say that the monies in question were seized from Okorocha, but that these monies were frozen in Imo State Government Accounts when Okorocha was still the governor of the State. Maybe, some of the newspapers that carried the report may need to recast their headlines or the EFCC official may need to provide further clarifications.