Justice Mohammed Idris of a Federal High Court in Lagos has sentenced former governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu, to 12 years’ imprisonment.
This was after the court found Kalu, and two others guilty of N7.65billion fraud.
Mr Kalu’s co-defendants are his firm, Slok Nigeria Limited and Mr Udeh Udeogu, who was Director of Finance and Accounts at the Abia State Government House during Kalu’s tenure as governor.
In an amended 39 counts, the EFCC accused them of conspiring and diverting N7.65bn from the coffers of the state.
In one of the counts, the EFCC alleged that Mr Kalu, who was Abia State Governor between 1999 and 2007, procured Slok Nigeria Limited – a company solely owned by him and members of his family – to retain its account, domiciled with the then Inland Bank Plc, Apapa branch, Lagos, an aggregate sum of N7,197,871,208.7
The prosecution claimed that the sum N7.1billion formed part of the funds illegally derived from the treasury of the Abia State Government and therefore violating Section 17(c) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2004, liable to be punished under Section 16 of the same Act.
Apart from the N7.1billion, the ex-governor and the other defendants were also accused of receiving a total of N460million allegedly stolen from the Abia State Government treasury between July and December 2002.
The prosecutor said they breached Section 427 of the Criminal Code Act, Cap 77, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 1990.
The defendants pleaded not guilty to all counts.
During the trial, the prosecution called 19 witnesses while the defendants testified on behalf of themselves.
At the point of departure from the court after the confection Mr Kalu was reported to be seen begging the Correctional Official not to place him on handcuff as was the ritual, that he will follow them without being forced, he was also seen shouting “2023 hear we come”.
The APC Chairman have reacted to the judgement of mr Kalu, ”I am not convinced that judgment was given,” he said adding that the court’s verdict sustained his doubts about the integrity and objectivity of the nations Judiciary.
Some residence of Aba on the other hand praised the conviction handed down to the ex-governor Orji of Abia.