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Thursday, 31 May 2018

N2.9bn fraud: I’ve no case to answer – Orji Kalu tells court

N2.9bn fraud: I’ve no case to answer – Orji Kalu tells court

Former Abia State governor, Orji Kalu, on Wednesday told a Federal High Court in Lagos that he had no case to answer regarding the alleged fraud charges levelled against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

Kalu is currently being prosecuted alongside his company, Slok Nigeria Limited and a former Director of Finance and Account at the Abia State Government House, Mr. Ude Udeogu for alleged fraud.

The EFCC, in the charges, alleged that while he was governor of Abia State, Kalu siphoned funds running into over N2.9bn from the state’s treasury.

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Kalu’s lawyer, Chief Awa Kalu (SAN), at the resumed hearing on Wednesday, informed Justice Mohammed Idris that he had filed a motion for no-case submission on behalf of his client, stating that the ex-governor had no case to answer with regard to the charges.

“A motion for no-case submission was filed on behalf of the 1st defendant on May 28 and it has been served on the prosecution,” Kalu said.

The other defence counsel, Chief Solo Akuma (SAN), and K. C. Nwofo (SAN), also informed the court that they had filed no-case submissions on behalf of the other defendants.

Earlier, the EFCC’s counsel, Adebisi Adeniyi, had drawn the court’s attention to an amended charge filed by the anti-graft agency before the commencement of proceedings.

“We did inform the court at the last adjourned date that we wanted to file an amended charge.

“We have filed the amended charge this morning. We were also served with the defendants’ motion for no-case submission,” Adeniyi said.

In response, defence lawyers told the court that the defendants had not been served with any amended charge by the prosecution.

In a bench ruling, Justice Idris directed the service of the amended charge on the defendants inside the court.

The defence lawyers, however, sought for an adjournment to enable them study the amended charge.

Justice Idris adjourned till June 13 for further hearing.

Kalu was said to have allegedly diverted the funds in tranches of N200m, N50m, N200m, N300.8m, N545m, N429m, N288.4m, N190m, N157m, N152.8m, N100m, N84m and N50m between August 13, 2003, and January 12, 2005.

The offences were said to be contrary to Section 17 (c) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2003 and punishable under Section 16 of the same Act.

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