11:35 am - Tuesday December 18, 2018

WAR AGAINST CORRUPTION IN NIGERIA: ‘We’re Prosecuting ORJI UZOR KALU for STEALING N7.6billion Abia State Funds’-EFCC ….As Governor between 2001 and September 2006 you procured Slok Nigeria Ltd, Retained N7.2billion in Inland Bank Plc account * ‘You collaborated with Udeh Jones Udeogu Slok Nigeria and Emeka Abone (at large) in concealing the genuine origin of an aggregate sum of N7, 197,871,208.70…’ * ‘I am Innocent, not GUILTY to the amended 39-count charge read to me before Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court in Lagos’-KALU * ‘The alleged offence violates Section 17(c) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2004, and was liable to be punished under Section 16. It breached Section 427 of the Criminal Code Act, Cap 77, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 1990’ BY CHINWE OBINAKA/CRIME WRITER, LAGOS

WAR AGAINST CORRUPTION IN NIGERIA:
‘We’re Prosecuting ORJI UZOR KALU for STEALING N7.6billion Abia State Funds’-EFCC
….As Governor between 2001 and September 2006 you procured Slok Nigeria Ltd, Retained N7.2billion in Inland Bank Plc account
* ‘You collaborated with Udeh Jones Udeogu Slok Nigeria and Emeka Abone (at large) in concealing the genuine origin of an aggregate sum of N7, 197,871,208.70…’
* ‘I am Innocent, not GUILTY to the amended 39-count charge read to me before Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court in Lagos’-KALU
* ‘The alleged offence violates Section 17(c) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2004, and was liable to be punished under Section 16. It breached Section 427 of the Criminal Code Act, Cap 77, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 1990’

BY CHINWE OBINAKA/CRIME WRITER, LAGOS

THESE ARE SURELY INTERESTING TIMES FOR FORMER GOVERNOR OF ABIA STATE, ORJI UZOR KALU, as Nigeria’s apex anti-crime agency, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has dragged and place this politician on trial for allegedly stealing and laundering a whooping sum of over Seven billion naira during his administration between 2001 and September 2006.
According to EFCC in their press statement, this N7.6b state funds meant for basic amenities, build infrastructure for the people and develop various forms of employment were all secretly lined in the personal pocket of Kalu.

Fighting corruption, irrespective of political status of who is gored, EFCC follow its mantra as it re-arraigned Kalu for allegedly laundering N7.65billion state funds recently.

Putting up a defense, Kalu pleaded not guilty to an amended 39-count charge that was read to him before Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court in Lagos, “I am not guilty at all of the amended 39-count charge. They were all made up. I am very innocent of these allegations.”

EFCC argued that Kalu during his reign as governor between 2001 and September 2006, procured Slok Nigeria Ltd, a company owned by him and members of his family, to retain N7.2billion in its Inland Bank Plc account, on his behalf.

EFCC damning report said the money “formed part of the funds illegally derived from the treasury of Abia State government and which was converted into several bank drafts before they were paid into the said company’s account”.

Kalu was accused of collaborating with Udeh Jones Udeogu Slok Nigeria and Emeka Abone (at large) “in concealing the genuine origin of an aggregate sum of N7, 197,871,208.70…”
The alleged offence violates Section 17(c) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2004, and was liable to be punished under Section 16.

Kalu and Udeogu, a former Director of Finance in Abia State Government House, pleaded not guilty to the charge. They were initially arraigned on a 34-count charge to which five fresh counts were added.

Prosecuting counsel Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) said the amendment was needed because of new evidence provided by the 19 witnesses who testified in the trial. He said he would not call additional witnesses despite the amendment having closed the prosecution’s case on May 11.

Beside the N7.2billion, the defendants were also accused of receiving N460million allegedly stolen from the Abia State Government treasury between July and December 2002.
EFCC said they breached Section 427 of the Criminal Code Act, Cap 77, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 1990. Udeogu, Slok Nigeria, Abone and Michael Udo, also at large, were accused of collaborating with Kalu to conceal the “genuine origin” of allegedly stolen funds.

Justice Idris, who was elevated to the Court of Appeal but was permitted to conclude the case, allowed the defendants to continue on the bail granted them 11 years ago when they were first arraigned.

Defence counsel Gordy Uche, Solo Akuma and K.C. Nwofor, all Senior Advocates of Nigeria, said they had pending no-case submissions, and that they needed time to respond to EFCC’s written address opposing their applications.
Justice Idris adjourned until July 25

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