A date has been fixed to deliver judgment in the alleged N7.65 billion fraud trial of a former governor of Abia State, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu and two others.
Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court in Lagos, on Tuesday fixed December 2, 2019 as the Judgment Day for the matter.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is prosecuting Kalu alongside 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 for the alleged offence.
The anti-graft agency, in an amended 39 counts, accused the defendants of conspiring and diverting N7.65 billion from the coffers of the state.
According to the prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), 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.
Aside the allegation of laundering N7.1 billion, Kalu and the other defendants were said to have also received a total of N460 million 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.
However, the defendants pleaded not guilty.
The prosecution had called 19 witnesses to prove its allegation, while the defendants, on the other hand, testified on behalf of themselves in an attempt to deny the allegations.
After the prosecution and the defence adopted their written addresses and canvassed final arguments in the 12-year-old case on Tuesday, the prosecutor, Jacobs, prayed the judge to jail the ex-governor and his co-defendants.
Jacobs argued that the 2nd defendant had already admitted to the offence both in his extrajudicial statement and under cross-examination.
“The admission is binding on all the defendants,” he said.
He had also said that contrary to Kalu’s claim that Abia State did not have as much as N7 billion during his administration, that information from the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation showed total allocation to Abia State under Kalu was N137 billion.
But counsels to the defendants prayed court to sack the charges and set the accused persons free.
After listening to their arguments, Justice Idris slated December 2 for judgment on the matter.
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