N7.65bn fraud: Orji Kalu learns fate December 2

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The Federal High Court in Lagos has fixed December 2, 2019, for judgment in the trial of a former governor of Abia, Orji Uzor Kalu, and two others for an alleged fraud of N7.65bn.

Justice Mohammed Idris fixed judgment day on Tuesday after the prosecution and the defence adopted their written addresses and canvassed final arguments in the 12-year-old case.

Standing trial alongside Kalu are his company, Slok Nigeria Limited; and 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 Economic and Financial Crimes Commission accused them of conspiring and diverting N7.65bn from the coffers of the state.

In one of the counts, the EFCC alleged that Kalu, who was Abia State Governor between 1999 and 2007, “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.”

But the defendants pleaded not guilty.

In an attempt to prove the allegations, the prosecution called 19 witness

The defendants testified on behalf of themselves in an attempt to deny the allegations.

On Tuesday, the prosecutor, Jacobs, urged the judge to jail the defendants as the prosecution had proved the allegations against them.

Jacobs said the 2nd defendant had already admitted to the offence both in his extrajudicial statement and under cross-examination.

“The admission is binding on all the defendants,” the prosecutor said.

He added that contrary to Kalu’s statement that Abia State did not have as much as N7bn during his administration, information from the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation showed total allocation to Abia State under Kalu was N137bn.

However, the defence urged the court to dismiss the charges, acquit and discharge their clients.

After hearing them all out, Justice Idris fixed December 2 for judgment.

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