The Federal High Court in Lagos has convicted a former governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu, who was charged with N7.1bn fraud.
The court found him and his co-defendants guilty of the entire 39 counts filed against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
Justice Mohammed Idris sentenced Kalu to 12 years’ imprisonment while he ordered the winding up of Kalu’s company, Slok Nigeria Limited, charged as third defendant in the case.
Recall that the defendant was initially arraigned before the Federal Court 12 years ago but his trial was stalled.
On July 17, 2018, and 11 years after his first arraignment, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) on filed a fresh 39 count charges of fraud against the former governor of over alleged N7.65bn fraud.
Kalu was re-arraigned alongside his company, Slok Nigeria Limited, and Ude Udeogu, who served under him as the Director of Finance and Account, Abia State Government House.
ABN TV recalls that the re-arraignment of the defendants before the court followed an amendment to the charges filed against them 11 years ago.
With the amendment, the prosecution increased the number of charges against the defendants from the initial 34 to 39.
The amount quoted to have been allegedly diverted, stolen and laundered by the defendants was also increased from N2.9bn to N7.65bn.
The prosecuting counsel for the EFCC, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), said the amendment to the charges became necessary in view of new facts revealed by some of the 19 witnesses who had testified against Kalu and his co-defendants in court.
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