© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
N7.1bn fraud: Orji Kalu bags 12 years imprisonment
...Court orders winding up of his company
THE Federal High Court in Lagos has convicted a former governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu, who was charged with N7.2bn fraud.
He was found guilty on the entire 39 counts filed against him and his co-defendants on Thursday by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)
Justice Mohammed Idris sentenced Kalu to 12 years’ imprisonment as well as ordering the winding up of Kalu’s company, Slok Nigeria Limited, charged as third defendant in the case.
It will be recalled that EFCC prosecuted Kalu and a former Commissioner for Finance in the state, Ude Udeogo.
Also charged along with Kalu is his company, Slok Nig. Ltd.
The EFCC had on October 31 2016, preferred a 34-count charge against the defendants and was later increased to 39 counts.
While Kalu and his company were convicted on all the 39 counts of the fraud charge, Udeogo was found guilty of 34 counts.
On November 12, 2018, NAN reported that Kalu was absent for his trial, after being absent on a previous adjourned date – November 5, 2018.
Although the defence counsel informed the court that he was away for medical treatment in Germany then, the court however,revoked his bail and ordered that, at his return to Nigeria, he must submit himself and his travel documents to the EFCC, or be arrested.
The EFCC in the charge said that the defendants committed the alleged offences between August 2001 and October 2005 when he was governor.
It said that the former governor utilised his company’s account to retain N200 million in First Inland bank (now First City Monument Bank).
The commission said the sum formed part of funds illegally derived from the coffers of the Abia State Government.
It said that the defendants diverted over N7.2 billion from Abia government’s treasury during Kalu’s tenure as the governor, in contravention of Sections 15(6), 16 and 21 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2005.
The commission said that the offences also contravened the provisions of the Money Laundering Act of 1995 as amended.