EFCC re-arraigns ex-gov. Orji Uzor Kalu, others for laundering N6.7bn

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OrijoReporter.com, Orji Uzor Kalu

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), today (Monday) re-arraigned former Abia State Governor, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, before a Federal High Court, Lagos, for allegedly laundering N6.7 billion.

Read also: Money laundering: Absence of judge stalls Fani-Kayode, Nenadi Usman’s trial

Arraigned along with Kalu are, Udeh Jones Udeogu, and Kalu’s Slok Nigeria Limited.

In the 34-count amended charge marked FHC/ABJ/CR/56/07, the EFCC alleged that Kalu and accused persons had between August 7, 2001, and December 2005 while Kalu was the governor of Abia State, used the said money to procure Slok Nigeria Limited, a company EFCC claimed to solely belong to Kalu and his family.

The accused persons and one Emeka Abone, said to be at large, were also alleged to have between May 2002 and December 2005, conspired among themselves to launder fund illegally derived from the treasury of Abia State government.

They were also alleged to have aggregated several millions of naira amounting to N3.2 billion, property of Abia State government, knowing that the said amount formed parts of funds stolen from the treasury of Abia State government.

The accused persons were alleged to have used Manny Bank, now Fidelity Bank Plc, Spring Bank Plc, the defunct Standard Trust Bank and Finland Bank, now First City Monument Bank (FCMB).

In counts one to 10, Uzor Kalu was alleged to have between August 13, 2003 and August 10, 2005, while he was the Abia State governor, procured Slok Nigeria Limited, the company solely belongs to him and his family members, retained in his account domiciled with the Apapa branch of First Inland Bank Plc, the total sum of N2. 502, 600 billion, which formed parts of funds Illegally derived from the treasury of Abia State government, through Manny Bank (now Fidelity Bank Plc), which were converted into several bank drafts before they were paid into the account of Slok Nigeria Limited.

And in counts 11 to 20, Slok Nigeria Limited and one Emeka Abone, said to be at large, were also alleged to have between April 29, 2003 and August 10, 2005, retained in their accounts domiciled with the Apapa branch of First Inland Bank now First City Monument Bank, the total sum of N2.493 billion, on behalf of Orji Kalu, who was then the Executive Governor of Abia State, and that the money formed parts of funds Illegally derived from the treasury of the state government, through Manny Bank now Fidelity Bank Plc.

In count 22 to 33 of the charge, Kalu, Udeh Jones Udeogu, Slok Nigeria Limited and Emeka Abone, who is said to be at large, were alleged to have between August 13, 2003 and August 10, 2005, collaborated and concealed the genuine origin of the total sum of N2.187,400 billion, which formed parts of funds Illegally derived from the treasury of Abia State government, through Manny Bank (now Fidelity Bank), and converted and paid the said sum into the account of Slok Nigeria Limited, with the Apapa branch of First Inland Bank Plc.

While in count 34, Kalu, Udeh Jones Udeogu, Slok Nigeria Limited and Emeka Abone, who is said to be at large, between May 2002 and December 2005, conspired among themselves to commit offence of money laundering of funds Illegally derived from the treasury of Abia State government.

The alleged offences according to the prosecutor, Adeniyi Adebisi, are contrary to sections 17(c) 16, 14(1)(b)17(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2003, and sections 427 of the Criminal Code Act Cap. 77, Laws of the Federation, 1990, and punishable under section 16 of the same Act.

The accused persons however pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Upon the plea of the accused persons, their lawyers, Chief Mike Ozekhome and Solo Akuma, all Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs), urged the court to allow their clients to continue with the bail term earlier granted them.

Ezekhome (SAN), informed Justice Mohammed Idris led-court that their clients have earlier been arraigned before Justice Nyako, Adamu Bello, Uweh, all of Abuja Federal High Courts, before they were re-arraigned again.

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The prosecutor, Mr. Adeniyi, did not oppose the submission of lawyers to the accused persons, but said his agency only interested in the trial of the accused persons.
Consequently, Justice Mohammed Idris, adjourned the trial of the accused persons till December 12 and 13, while ordering that the accused persons continue to enjoy the former bail conditions.

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