Tuesday, October 22, 2019 2:14 pm
A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has adjourned till December 2, 2019 to deliver judgment in the trial of former Governor of Abia, Orji Uzor Kalu, and two others over an alleged money laundering involving the sum of N7.65 billion.
The presiding Judge, Mohammed Idris, adjourned for judgement after the prosecution and the defence counsels adopted their written addresses and canvassed final arguments.
Standing trial alongside the former Governor are his company, Slok Nigeria Limited; and Udeh Udeogu, who was Director of Finance and Accounts at the Abia State Government House during his tenure as Governor.
In an amended 39 counts, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC accused them of conspiring and diverting N7.65bn from the treasury 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.”
The prosecution claimed that the N7.1bn “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 former Governor was alleged to have violated Section 17(c) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2004, and was liable to be punished under Section 16 of the same Act.
Apart from the N7.1billion, which he was accused of laundering, the former Governor and the other defendants were also accused of receiving a total of N460m 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.
But the defendants pleaded not guilty.
In an attempt to prove the allegations, the prosecution called 19 witnesses.
The defendants testified on behalf of themselves in an attempt to deny the allegations.
The EFCC prosecuting counsel for Mr Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), urged the judge to jail the defendants as the prosecution had proved the allegations against them beyond reasonable doubt.