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Orji Uzor Kalu to spend 12 years in jail over N7.65bn Fraud, don’t handcuff me, ex-gov Kalu begs

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Orji Uzor Kalu to spend 12 years in jail over N7.65bn Fraud, don’t handcuff me, ex-gov Kalu begs

Justice Mohammed Idris of a Federal High Court in Lagos has sentenced former governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu, to 12 years’ imprisonment.

The Federal High Court in Lagos has sentenced a former Abia State Governor, Orji Uzor Kalu, to a maximum of 12 years imprisonment for N7.65bn fraud, among other multiple sentences ranging from 3 years to 5 years on 27 counts.

Video: Court Finds Orji Kalu Guilty Of NGN7 65BN Fraud

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.

In an amended 39 counts charge, they were accused by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission of conspiring and diverting over N7 billion from the coffers of the state.

The prosecution claimed that the N7.1 billion “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 prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, said the ex-governor 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 N7.1bn, which he was accused of laundering, the ex-governor and the other defendants were also accused of receiving a total of N460 million 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 had pleaded not guilty to all counts.

During the trial, the prosecution called 19 witnesses while the defendants testified on behalf of themselves .

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In his judgement, Mr Idris convicted and sentenced the first defendant, Mr Kalu, to five years imprisonment on counts 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11; three years on counts 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33; 12 years on counts 34, 35, 36, 37 and 38 and five years on count 39. All the sentences are to run concurrently meaning he would be in prison for 12 years from the day of conviction.

The second defendant was convicted and sentenced to three years imprisonment on counts 24, 25, 27, 28, 30, 31, 32 and 10 years on counts 34, 37, 38 and 39.
The sentences will run concurrently meaning he would be in jail for 10 years.

Justice Idris further held that Mr Kalu’s company, Slok Nigeria Limited, the third defendant, be wounded up and all assets forfeited to the federal government.

The defendants pleaded not guilty to all counts.

During the trial, the prosecution called 19 witnesses while the defendants testified on behalf of themselves.

Kalu’s corruption trial began in 2007, but the case suffered setbacks owing to legal spanner thrown into the works by the accused.

Orji Uzor Kalu to spend 12 years in jail over N7.65bn Fraud, don’t handcuff me, ex-gov Kalu begs

Please, don’t handcuff me, convicted ex-gov Kalu begs

Orji Uzor Kalu, who was sentenced to 12 years in prison for fraud, was heard asking prison warders, “Where are you taking us to?” after his sentencing.

Kalu, who is the Senate Chief Whip, also begged the prison warders not to handcuff him in public.

The former governor, who appeared shaken, said, “Where are you taking us to now? Please, don’t handcuff me. I will follow you.”

A short while earlier, Kalu wiped tears from his eyes with a white handkerchief as Justice Mohammed Idris began reading an abridged version of the 228-page judgment.

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Two unidentified women were also seen weeping as Kalu was being led away.

Kalu’s associate, Udeogu, was sentenced to 10 years in prison, while the company which was used in perpetrating the fraud, Slok Limited, was ordered to be wound up by Justice Idris Mohammed.

The case began in 2007, 12 years ago, when they were first arraigned for the offences, but before a different judge.

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