A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial city, has convicted Orji Uzor Kalu, former governor of Abia state and chief whip of the senate of N7.1 billion fraud.
PamPam News reports that the presiding judge, Justice Mohammad Idris, sentenced Kalu to 12 years in prison for money laundering.
Justice Idris also ordered that Kalu’s company, Slok Nigeria Limited, be liquidated and its assets forfeited to the federal government.
The former governor stood trial on a 39-count charge brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Senator Kalu, Slok Nigeria Limited, and Udeh Udeogu, a former director of finance and accounts in Abia were accused of diverting N7.65 billion from the purse of the state government.
The lawmaker is also accused of illegally taking N460 million from Abia’s treasury.
“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,” one of the charges filed against Kalu reads.
PamPam News reports that the offences are said to be in contravention of section 17(c) of the money laundering (prohibition) act, 2004.
In the course of the trial, the anti-graft agency argued that the defendants breached section 427 of the criminal code act, CAP 77, Laws of the federation 1990.
It called 19 witnesses to help establish its case.
Senator Kalu’s corruption trial began in 2007, but the case suffered setbacks owing to legal spanner thrown into the works by the accused.