The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has secured an order of final forfeiture of Dews of Hope Hospital, a state-of-the-art 200-bed hospital, allegedly owned by an aide of former governor of Imo State and serving senator, Rochas Anayo Okorocha.
Justice T.G Ringin of a Federal High Court, Owerri, the Imo State capital, gave the order on Friday.
Recall that the anti-graft body had in August secured the interim forfeiture of the N1.5 b property from a vacation Judge, Justice A. T Mohammed of Federal High Court, Port Harcourt.
The application for interim forfeiture followed evidence that the hospital may have been funded with proceeds of illicit activities, as funds from Government House, Owerri were traced to the hospital.
The Commission’s investigation revealed that Dr. Paschal Obi, former Permanent Secretary and Principal Secretary to then Governor Okorocha, now a serving member of the House of Representatives, was a signatory to the accounts.
However, Obi, like members of the board of the hospital, vehemently denied ownership of the medical facility.
Also the managing director of the hospital on invitation could not explain how the hospital was funded.
These led the Commission to file for the forfeiture of the property on July 25, 2019 under Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud, and Other Related Offences Act 2006.
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.
The hospital located at the heart of Owerri metropolis, had an adjourning staff and doctor’s quarters.