A Federal High Court in Lagos on Thursday sentenced Senator Orji Uzor Kalu to 12 years in prison for fraud.
Orji Kalu, a serving senator representing Abia North and former governor of Abia State, was handed a 12-year jail sentence by Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court Lagos for N7.65 billion fraud.
Kalu was tried alongside Slok Nigeria Limited, a company he chairs and Mr Udeh Udeogu who was Director of Finance and Accounts of the state house at the time Kalu was governor of Abia State.
The convicts were accused by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of conspiring to divert and diverting over N7billion state fund in an amended 39-count charge.
The EFCC alleged in one of the counts that Senator Kalu did procure a company solely owned by him and members of his family – Slok Nigeria Limited – to retain in its account, an aggregate sum of N7,197,871,208.7 on his behalf.
The prosecution had argued that the N7.1 billion formed part of the funds illegally derived from the treasury of the Abia State Government and which was laundered into several bank drafts before they were paid into Slok Nigeria’s account.
Counsel to EFCC, Rotimi Jacobs SAN, further argued that such action was in violation of Section 17(c) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2004, and the defendant was liable to be punished under Section 16 of the same Act.
Kalu and the other defendants were also accused of receiving the sum of N460 million allegedly pilfered from the Abia State Government treasury between July and December 2002.
The defendants pleaded not guilty to all the counts.
While the matter lasted in court, the prosecution called a total of 19 witnesses and the defendants testified on their own behalf.
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