The Federal High Court in Lagos will on Thursday (today) deliver judgment in the N7.65bn alleged fraud case involving a former governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu.
Hearing concluded in the 12-year-old case on October 22, when Justice Mohammed Idris fixed December 2 for judgment.
The judgment day was however shifted to Thursday as the judge was said to be busy with some election cases.
Standing trial alongside Kalu are his company, Slok Nigeria Limited; and 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 Economic and Financial Crimes Commission accused them of conspiring and diverting N7.65bn from the coffers of the state.
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, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), 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.
The prosecutor said they breached Section 427 of the Criminal Code Act, Cap 77, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 1990.
But the defendants pleaded not guilty.
In an attempt to prove the allegations, the prosecution called 19 witnesses.
The defendants testified on behalf of themselves in an attempt to deny the allegations.