After 12 years of trial, Court set to deliver judgement on N7.65 billion suit against Kalu
AFTER over a decade of back and forth on the N7.65 billion suit filed by the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against Orji Uzor Kalu, former Governor of Abia State and his accomplice, Lagos State Federal High Court will on December 2nd finally deliver judgement on the case.
Mohammed Idris, the presiding Judge made the decision on Tuesday after listening to final arguments of both prosecution and defence counsels as well as written statements in the 12 years-long case.
Kalu was accused to have breached Section 17(c) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2004, and was liable to be punished under Section 16 of the same Act. Aside, the commission also accused Kalu of violating Section 427 of the Criminal Code Act, Cap 77, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 1990.
The former governor who managed affairs of Abia State between 1999 and 2007 was accused of looting the state treasury through his company, Slok Nigeria Limited in a 39-count charge listed against him by the anti-graft agency. He was supported in the alleged crime by Udeh Udeogu, a former Director of Finance and Accounts at the Abia State Government House.
According to the EFCC prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), Kalu, “did procure Slok Nigeria Limited – a company solely owned by you and members of your family – to retain in its account, domiciled with the then Inland Bank Plc, Apapa branch, Lagos, an aggregate sum of N7,197,871,208.7 on your behalf.”
The commission further told the court that the N7.1billion “formed part of the funds illegally derived from the treasury of the Abia State Government and which was converted into several bank drafts before they were paid into the said company’s account.”
The ICIR had earlier reported how five former Governors with high-profile cases with the EFCC still made their way to the 9th parliament.
Kalu is one of them.
Though the former governor pleaded not guilty to all counts, the prosecuting counsel insisted he committed the crime, and should be jailed.
According to Jacob, the second defendant – Udeogu, has agreed to the crime committed during cross-examinations and other statements.
His words: “The admission is binding on all the defendants,” stressing that contrary to the claims of the former governor that the state lack such huge sum of N7 billion when he was a governor, details from the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation proved otherwise.”