Former Gov., Orji Kalu Bags 12-Year Jail Term, Set To Appeal Judgment

A Federal High Court in Lagos has found guilty and consequently sentenced former governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu to twelve years imprisonment over a 7.2 billion naira fraud.

He was sentenced alongside second defendant, a former director at the Abia State government house who got a ten-year jail term.

However, Kalu is getting set to appeal the judgment of the Federal High Court in Lagos.

The duo was first arraigned before Justice Adamu Bello of the Federal High Court in 2007, but due to the snail-like pace at which the case went, including many adjournments and transfer of judges, there was a delay in judgment.

Recall on 31st of Oct., 2016, the EFCC brought an amended 34 count charge bordering on N3.2 billion fraud against the accused persons, which were amended in July 2018.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) increased the counts to 39 with a corresponding increase in money value to N7.2 billion said to be diverted from the Abia state treasury into his family’s company.

The charges were punishable under the money laundering prohibition laws of 2004 and the 1990 Criminal code.

In May 2018, the trial judge Mohammed Idris , was elevated to the Court of Appeal. But through a fiat authorised by the Court of Appeal president, he concluded the case in an accelerated hearing.

By August 2019, trial had ended and in October both counsels adopted their written submissions before the court.

Judgment initially was fixed for 2nd of December but could not be delivered as the judge was away for an election appeal matter, and moved to 5th of December.

Today, the long-awaited judgment was delivered amid heavy security personnel who took over the court’s entrance, granting limited access.

In the 288-page judgment, Orji Uzor Kalu and his company, Slok Nigeria were found guilty of all 39 counts of money laundering, while the second defendant, ,Ude Udeogo guilty of 34 counts.

The court held that the terms of imprisonment shall run concurrently. It also ordered Mr Kalu’s Company, Slok Nigeria Ltd, to be wound up and all its assets forfeited to the federal government.

Orji Kalu, who is currently the chief whip in the senate was governor of Abia state between 1999 and 2007 under the PDP but defected to the APC where he won the senatorial seat representing Abia north.

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