EFCC re-arraigns former abia state Governor on charges of N7.6bn fraud

EFCC re-arraigns former Governor Kalu: The former Governor of Abia Uzor Kalu has been re-arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Tuesday for alleged fraud of N7.6bn.

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.

It is learnt that the re-arraignment of the defendants before the Federal High Court in Lagos on Tuesday 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, said the amendment to the charges became necessary in view of new facts revealed by some of the19 witnesses who had testified against Kalu and his co-defendants in court.

EFCC re-arraigns former Governor Kalu On Tuesday, the trial judge, Justice Mohammed Idris, dismissed the objection raised by the defence counsel to the amended charge sheet, paving the way for the re-arraignment of the defendants.

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 prosecuting counsel, 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 N460m allegedly stolen from the Abia State Government treasury between July and December 2002.

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