The former governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu is getting set to appeal the judgment of the Federal High Court in Lagos, which convicted and sentenced him to a concurrent jail term of 12 years imprisonment over, a 7.2 billion naira fraud.
The second defendant, a former director at the Abia State government house was sentenced to ten years.
Kalu and others were first arraigned before Justice Adamu Bello of the FHC in 20o7, but many adjournments and transfer of judges stalled the trial.
In 31st of Oct., 2016, the EFCC brought an amended 34 count charge bordering on N3.2 billion fraud against the accused.
The charges again were amended in July 2018.
The anti-graft agency increasing the counts to 39 counts with the sum increased to N7.2billion, 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 counsel adopted their written submissions before the court.
Judgment initially fixed for 2nd of December could not be delivered as the judge was away for an election appeal matter, and moved to 5th of December.
It’s D-day! Heavy security personnel manned the gates, 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 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.
He is currently the chief whip in the senate.