Tag Archives: kalu

EFCC demands Kalu’s tranfer to Lagos Court for trial.

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Kalu asked the court to stop the EFCC from retrying him on the same N7.1 billion money laundering charge.

Ex-gov asks court to prevent his ‘second trial’
Planned re-arraignment of former governor of Abia State, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, before Justice I. E. Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, yesterday, could not proceed following objection raised by the prosecuting Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC).

Director (Legal and Prosecution) of EFCC, Chile Okoroma, appearing for the prosecution, informed the court that the anti-graft agency had written to the chief judge of the Federal High Court requesting that the case be transferred to Lagos Division of the Federal High Court, which he argued has jurisdiction to entertain the matter.

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“On January 20, 2021, we wrote a letter to the chief judge of the Federal High Court requesting for the transfer of this case to the Lagos Division of this court.

“My lord, we have also written another letter dated February 2, 2021, which I have served on all parties involved in this matter. We will be asking that this matter be adjourned sine-die, pending the decision of the chief judge.

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“One thing is certain, the case cannot be heard in Abuja,” Okoroma said.

Kalu asked the court to stop the EFCC from retrying him on the same N7.1 billion money laundering charge.

He said having been tried once by EFCC, convicted and sentenced in the same charge, it would amount to double jeopardy for him to go through the same, a second time.

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In an ex-parte motion moved through his counsel, Prof. Awa Kalu (SAN), the former governor pleaded with the court to rescue him from suffering double jeopardy

He further asked that if his application is granted, it should operate as a stay of proceedings until the determination of the application or until the judge otherwise orders.

Justice Ekwo, in a brief ruling, rejected the application of the prosecution to adjourn sine die. Instead, he adjourned proceedings till June 7, 2021 for the prosecution to report on the outcome of its application to the chief judge.

Kalu, alongside his firm, Slok Nigeria Limited, and former Director of Finance in Abia State, Jones Udeogu, are to be docked for fraud to the tune of about N7.1billion.

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The ex-Abia governor and senator representing Abia North at the National Assembly was already serving his 12-year jail term at the Kuje Prison when the Supreme Court nullified his conviction by Justice Idris Mohammed of a Federal High Court, Lagos on technical ground.

The apex court held that the trial judge was no longer a judge of the Federal High Court at the time he delivered the judgment, having been elevated to the Appeal Court.

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#Newsworthy

Reps should prosecute Akpabio over NDDC contract claims – Ubani

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The controversy trailing the corruption scandal in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has continued to spark mixed reactions in the country.

Amid a series of drama, confrontation, and war of words, the National Assembly is investigating the allegation of corruption in the agency.

Among the latest dramatic events from the probe is the heated argument between a lawyer, Mr Monday Ubani, and the spokesperson for the House of Representatives, Mr Benjamin Kalu, during their appearance on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics.

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Ubani, who is also a governance expert, and Kalu, who is also the House Committee Chairman on Media Affairs and Publicity, disagreed over the allegation by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, on the complicity of some lawmakers in the contract scam in the NDDC.

The Powerful Politicians

A file photo of the Minister of Niger Delta, Godswill Akpabio, during his appearance before a House of Representatives Committee on July 20, 2020.

While the lawyer stressed that there were evidence that some lawmakers have been indicted, the lawmaker insisted that there was nothing of such.

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“We are waiting for them (the House) to initiate criminal prosecution against Godswill Akpabio; when they now try it, they will get to know the names of those that are there with them,” Ubani said.

According to him, the lawmakers cannot initiate any criminal prosecution or civil prosecution when the minister has names of members of the present House that have been indicted.

Ubani alleged that the annexure attached to the minister’s letter to the House contained the names of the lawmakers, including the chairmen of the Senate and House committees investigating the NDDC.

He said, “Both committee chairmen; there are other members of the House that are there, including some powerful politicians.

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“Let me tell you what happened in the House. In the morning, the Speaker was saying that he had referred this particular matter to the Clerk, asking that lawyers should be engaged to initiate criminal perjury and civil defamation against Akpabio when he has not gotten the letter.”

“The moment the letter came that has this list of all the members that are implicated, remember how the Speaker ended? He said ‘this matter is now rested; I will now refer this matter to the Ethics and Privileges Committee’ which means this matter has died a natural death,” Ubani added.

Akpabio Exonerated Us

In a swift reaction, Kalu who is also a lawyer, faulted the allegations by Ubani, stressing that the Akpabio had exonerated the lawmakers in his letter.

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He said, “With due respect to my senior colleague, he is wasting the time of Nigerians and your airtime, what is he referring to? What I have here is a document from the minister; the original document.

The lawmaker, therefore, challenged Ubani to mention the names of the members of the 9th Assembly who constituted 60 per cent of the project of the NDDC as claimed.

He also questioned if the two members said to have been named by the minister as purported beneficiaries of the contracts constituted 60 per cent.

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While he noted that he could not speak for the Senate, Kalu insisted that the name of the House Committee Chairman, Olubunmi Ojo, was not mentioned in the document.

The said document, he stated, referred to the events in 2018 and has no relevance to the probe of the agency between January and May 2020.

“It has no relevance; if we were before the court, it will not be admissible. It will be flung out of the court,” the House spokesman said.


#Newsworthy…

NASS won’t stop agitating for sack of service chiefs – Kalu


The PDP recently warned Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila to stop intimidating the leadership of its caucus in the House, led by Hon. Kingsley Chinda. The party also reaffirmed its stand that the quartet of Hons. Chinda, Hon. Ajibola Muraino, Hon. Barde and Chukwuka Onyeama are their chosen leaders. What’s your reaction to it?

The joint task philosophy for nation building initiated in the wisdom of the Speaker Rt. Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, was intended to create an enabling platform for all the political parties to fairly participate in rebuilding the nation through the parliament.


This in fact has given a sense of belonging to most minority political parties. The above does not in any way mean that these political parties will now determine for the House, how the activities of the House should be run.

The House at all times functions through her House Rules and not by any political party’s bye laws or directives from national party executives. This is the legislative arm of government, distinct in its operations from other arms like the judiciary and the executive, whose independence at all times must be preserved and protected for the interest of Nigerians.


The PDP national executives should cease from giving directives to the House, but rather be better guided by our House Rules in their relationship with the House.

You will recall that the PDP caucus of the House of Representatives among others, elected their Minority Leader in the person of Hon. Ndudi Elumelu, who by the House Rules remains the highest office holder of the minority political parties in the House including the PDP where according to the INEC register he is still a member. He is as well the highest recognised leadership voice by the House Rules in matters affecting the minority parties. Based on this, any minority member of the House acting outside the parameters of the House Rules, will be cautioned or punished by the House Committee on Ethics and Privileges.


This is what is happening now, because the law is no respecter of persons and no one is above it. No individual political party interest should be used to distract the Joint Task Agenda of the 9th Assembly. We encourage all political parties to address their internal issues within the privacy of the party rather than making it a national public show with an attempt to drag the Rt. Honourable Speaker into it. The people’s parliament belongs to the people not just the political parties. After all, Some of our constituents are not politicians and yet they voted for us and we are accountable to them. PDP should consider this set of people as they attempt to distract the house.

What has happened to the investigation of Hon. Chinda and his group by the Ethics and Privileges Committee? Has their committee concluded its assignment and when will the report be submitted?


The spokesperson of the House speaks only for the House on matters affecting the entirety of the House. At the committee level, the chairmen speak about their ongoing activities unless where it is absolutely necessary for the nation to hear the position of the House in the form of an update. In matters of this nature, it will be “sub judicially”, wrong for me to comment on an internal hearing that is still being heard.

In the practice of the House, final hearing and committee resolution will be evidenced by the laying of the report of the committee before the House. At that point, I will be free to comment on the findings of the committee. The very intelligent senior member of the House, Hon Chinda whom I respect with other members of his group should focus on giving the best representation, which they are known for to their various constituents rather than engage in this distraction. That was not why the constituents voted them to avoid been recalled.


But looking at the House Rules or parliamentary convention, does the PDP have the right to run a different caucus from the House’ recognised Minority Leadership as represented by Hon. Ndudi Elimelu in this instance?

To my knowledge and like I earlier pointed out, the interference of any political party in the affairs of the legislative institution is frowned at by our House Rules, therefore, the PDP national executives have no business determining who is to lead the House caucus of their party, rather they can achieve that through the instrumentality of their members in the House. To the satisfaction of the leadership of the House, these PDP members chose Hon. Ndudi Elumelu as the minority leader, to head the leadership of their leaders in the House, why we are still on this? it is what bothers me.


Some committees of the House are complaining that the leadership is starving them of funds thereby making it difficult for them to complete their assignments on time. Why is the leadership hoarding funds, when the committee’s need to do their work?

Your observation about some of the committees’ financial problems is in order if there is any. I have said it over and over that the impression out there is that we have so much money in the National Assembly and this is not true. The House of Representatives is struggling without funds. The activities of the House are more than the funds available to us. This is a fact. Many people are not aware because they do not understand the workings of the House or the parliament. That is why we are working hard to open up the House and make Nigerians see what we do. The activities are enormous but the budget is not enough.


Many people won’t like to hear this; but the Speaker and the leadership of the House are struggling to manage the House responsibility with the available resources. And you will agree with me that this is management- the ability to harness the available resources to meet definite goals. Our goal in the 9th House is to give proper representation to Nigerians; to make good laws for Nigerians. We are not even talking about other aspects like constituency projects yet.

Let’s focus on making laws and oversight function. Yet, the money at our disposal is not enough. So, if any committee said it is struggling, it is not because the management deliberately does not want to release money, but the leadership is only trying to manage what is available. The management is prioritising what should come first. I want to say that I had cause to engage some of the technocrats in the accounts department- these are not lawmakers. But they agree with me that the funds are not sufficient. So, I am not surprised if any committee said it is not being energized to do its job. Funding is just not available. The House is conscious of its responsibility to fund the committees. All these responsibilities are important and are not supposed to be delayed because that is oversight function. But there is paucity of funds.


Look at the revelations and discoveries from the ongoing investigation on unaudited accounts of major MDAs. Are you not surprised? Who would have known if the House were useless and not carrying out its oversight function? A motion was raised and the leadership immediately mandated the ad hoc committee to investigate. That is why I will join my voice to those sincerely asking for more funds to be appropriated for the operations of the National Assembly. I do not want to know how some people would react, but the fact is that some react in ignorance. Once it is the House, everybody wants to attack. Nobody wants to do a critical analysis that is unbiased. It is high time we started changing this narrative.

We are struggling to get our jobs done with little funds. Since I came to the House, I do not have computer from government to do my job. All my aides do not have computers given to them by government to do their jobs. So, we have to ration the funds available. But we promised Nigerians to be patient and these committees will surely deliver on their mandates. I also want Nigerians to understand that we are operating the same budget the House operated with ten years ago. Look at the purchasing power ten years ago. I agree with you that we are struggling with lack of funds, but the leadership of Honourable Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila is doing its best to ensure that we deliver good legislation to Nigerians.


The security chiefs met with the leadership of the National Assembly during the week behind closed doors and no one was told what transpired at the meeting. Why keep the media in the dark on an important issue like security?

As you know, and as I pointed out executive sessions are confidential engagements. Even if you are my father or mother, I cannot tell you or discuss with you what happened there. It is an information code that guides the House. But what I can tell you is that the meeting with service chiefs bordered on security and you know it is not everything about security that should be announced to the public. But the Service Chiefs came to brief the National Assembly on its meeting with the executive arm; to give us a feedback, for us to be able to do our own internal critique and help in preferring solutions.


There are reports that the House has begun procurement of utility vehicles for lawmakers. Is this true? We also learnt that when the President of the Senate and Speaker met with President Buhari, they could not summon the courage to tell the President that they want the Service Chiefs to go. Has the House rescinded its resolution that they should resign?

On the issue of procurement, I am not aware that the National Assembly has started procuring vehicles. I am still using my car, which I bought four years ago and brought it to the National Assembly. I am still changing the tyres to the car myself. And as the image maker of the House, I should be one among the first lawmakers to be procured for because I do represent the House and I attend events on behalf of the parliament. I do not know of any procurement of vehicles by the House and I do not believe they will start procuring without doing so for me. So, there is nothing like that.


On the issue of the Service Chiefs, are you saying the president of the Senate and the Speaker can just sit and rescind a decision of the legislature? You know the processes of lawmaking and resolutions of the parliament. Every resolution reached by the House stands until a member comes by way of motion that it should be rescinded. Even at that, it is debated. So, until a motion is brought by a member of the House on the floor that the decision we took on the Service Chiefs be rescinded, no such thing will take place. As the spokesperson for the House, I am not aware that such a motion has been tabled and deliberated upon and another decision taken. Therefore, that resolution still subsists.

Many Nigerians are complaining about the tea break introduced by the 9th House. The complaint is that many lawmakers do not return to the chambers after the tea break. What is so important about this tea break?


In every office, when you resume work, you are advised not to sit for too long in one place. If you sit for too long, it is medically unhealthy. Nigerians are very intelligent people but sometimes, we choose to be unduly critical. There are researches on this matter.

The world over, it is being advised for us not to sit in one location for too long because it affects blood circulation. And you know that the members in the House are not young people; only few of them are young. Even if you are young, you are advised to take a walk after sitting for a while. Therefore, the House in its wisdom decided to apportion 15 minutes to members to take a walk during our plenary. And this walk is also important for Muslims among us to use the time to for their prayers.


Nigeria is a secular country and we must accommodate every religion. Some of our Muslim brothers complained that when they start going out for prayers in the middle of the plenary, it causes rowdiness or distraction.

Just imagine all the Muslims in the House stand up at the same time to go and pray, it will be very distractive. And we say, let’s give everybody 15 minutes; when the Muslims go out to pray, everybody is also free to take a walk. This is for efficiency and good delivery. I don’t think it is a bad decision. It is a healthy medically induced decision for fit purposes.

But the cup of Lipton tea that we take is what some people are complaining about. When in all offices in the country, they have tea being served. Some offices even have tea girls. Let us be fair to the lawmakers. We drink tea Nigerians complain, we wear suit, they complain, we drive keke NAPEP, they complain. We are even afraid to ride a motor bike now. Yet, we are the backbone of our democracy. I want Nigerians to remember that any day, you suffocate the legislature, democracy is finished and you won’t have a voice to say the things you say freely today. Nigerians have a voice now because there is legislature.

So, let us protect, preserve and encourage this arm of government. The attitude of being unduly antagonistic to the legislature is wrong. We must change our orientation towards the legislature. The expectations are too high, so much that when you give your constituent N5000, they expect that it should be N50,000. The false impression is that we are collecting so much and giving them little. Some even say we are stealing so much and not sharing it with them. This is not true and we appeal to the media to also help change this narrative.


#Newsworthy…

Orji Uzor Kalu’s Bail Disapproval May Lead To Celebrating Xmas In Jail.

Convicted Former Abia state governor, Orji Uzor Kalu, will be celebrating the yuletide in prison as his bail application was dismissed for lack in merit by a Federal high court sitting in Lagos today Monday December 23rd.

Recall that last week, Kalu filed an application for bail from Ikoyi prison where he is serving a 12 year jail term following his conviction for N7.2billion fraud on December 5th.

The former governor who was the chief whip of the Senate before his conviction, asked the court to grant him bail on health grounds. He argued that the prison lacked the medical facility to cater to his health challenges.

#Newsworthy…

SLOK asks appeal court to set aside winding up judgement.

SLOK Nigeria Limited has approached the Lagos division of the Court of Appeal to set aside the judgment of the Federal High Court ordering its winding up and forfeiture of its assets to the Federal Government.

The company, dissatisfied with the judgment of the Lagos division of the Federal High Court delivered by Justice MB Idris, in charge No. FHC/ABJ/CR/56/2007-FRN V. Orji Kalu and 2 others, filed a notice of appeal pursuant to order 7 rule 2 in urging the appellate court to set aside the decision of the trial court and to pronounce it discharged and acquitted.

In the notice of appeal, which is predicated on 30 grounds, the appellant is challenging the entire decision of the lower court, positing that the trial judge erred in law and occasioned a miscarriage of justice in arriving at his conclusion.

Specifically, the appellant through its counsel, KC Nwufo, SAN, contended that the judgment of the trial court finding the appellant guilty on counts 12 to 39 of the charge, and ordering its winding up and forfeiture of its assets to the Federal Government is unreasonable, unwarranted and cannot be supported, having regard to the evidence adduced before the court.

It further contended that the trial judge erred in law when he assumed jurisdiction to entertain the charge No. FHC/ABJ/CR/56/2007 as a high court judge after his elevation and swearing-in as a justice of the Court of Appeal, and that this occasioned a gross miscarriage of justice.

It is the contention of the appellant that there was no evidence before the court that the bank paid any money from Government House, Umuahia account into the appellant’s account, adding that PW19 on May 11, 2018 specifically stated under cross-examination that the staff of the Inland Bank did not lodge any money into the appellant’s account.

In addition, the company averred that its statement of account did not show that any funds from the state Government House, Umuahia was paid into its account.

The appellant further argued that the trial judge erred in law when he held thus: “In this case, the prosecution has tendered the statement of account which shows that money was lodged into the 3rd defendant’s account by Inland Bank. Besides, the question the 3rd defendant and the 1st defendant should be answering is not about the slips that show lodgment but the source of the money that Inland Bank was paying into its account.”

The appellant further contended that the trial judge erred in law when he held thus: “From the totality of evidence led by the prosecution and by considering the ingredients of the offences above, it is clear that the 1st defendant did procure the 3rd defendant to retain the proceed of crime and the 3rd defendant must have known or suspected that the money was gotten from criminal conducts, the 1st and 3rd defendants are therefore guilty of counts 1 and 12 respectively.”

On the above findings, the appellant argued that there is no evidence that the 1st defendant did procure the appellant to retain any proceeds of crime, as there is also no evidence that the appellant must have known or suspected that any money in her account was gotten from any alleged criminal conduct.

SLOK Nigeria further argued that there is no evidence placed before the court that the defendants, including the appellant, collaborated to conceal the origin of funds which were allegedly illegally withdrawn from the account of the Government House, Umuahia with UBA Plc.

It submitted that the appellant is not guilty of allegedly collaborating in concealing the genuine origin of the sum of N200,000,000.00, said to have been illegally withdrawn from the account of the Government House, Umuahia with UBA Plc.

#Newsworthy…

Kalu’s bail application pass Court’s hearings.

Dr Orji Uzor Kalu, former governor of Abia state and senate chief whip, has filed a bail application pending his appeal against his jail sentence.

The former governor, through his counsel, urged the court to grant him a post-conviction bail on health grounds.

A Federal High Court, Lagos had convicted Kalu following a 39-count charge brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

In the appeal, yesterday, Kalu said he is battling “serious health issues that the medical facilities in the prison cannot handle.”

He also added that as senator representing Abia north, “the interest of his constituents would be in jeopardy if he was kept behind bars.”

He said since the offences he was convicted of were bailable, the court should free him while he challenges his conviction at the court of appeal.

However, Rotimi Oyedepo, counsel to the EFCC, opposed the application for post-conviction bail.

The EFCC counsel added that the medical facility at the Ikoyi Custodial Centre is capable of handling Kalu’s condition.

#Newsworthy…

Kalu files bail term on health ground.

Convicted former governor of Abia state, Orji Uzor Kalu, has approached the courts to grant him bail on health grounds.

On December 5th, a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos state, sentenced the ex-governor cum Senator to 12 years imprisonment for committing N7.1bn fraud while he served as governor.

In an application filed today in court, Kalu asked that he be granted post-conviction bail on health grounds. In his application, Kalu who represents Abia North in the senate, said he is battling serious health challenges that the medical facilities in the prison cannot handle. He argued that the offences for which he was sentenced were bailable and that the court should free him while he challenges his conviction by Justice Mohammed Idris at the Court of Appeal.

He also told the court that his good work as the Chief Whip of the Senate and the senator representing Abia North Senatorial District would suffer if he continues to remain behind bars.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has opposed the post-conviction bail application. According to the antigraft agency, Kalu cannot be granted bail when has been convicted by a competent court of jurisdiction.

His bail application has been adjourned to December 23rd.

#Newsworthy…

Just in – EFCC seize kalu’s properties.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has started marking properties belonging to the former governor of Abia State, Orji Kalu for seizure.

Mr Kalu, a senator representing Abia North, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for a N7.65 billion fraud by Justice Muhammed Idris of a Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos.

According to the EFCC in a statement on Saturday, the marking is to ensure that the properties are not dissipated.

Read the EFCC statement below:

“EFCC Press Release
N7.65bn Fraud: EFCC Marks Ex-Abia Gov, Orji Kalu’s Properties

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Saturday,
December 14, 2019, marked properties belonging to a former Abia State governor, Orji Uzor Kalu.

The marking is to ensure that the properties are not dissipated, following the December 5, 2019 order of Justice Muhammed Idris sitting at the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos that Kalu’s company, Slok Nigeria Limited, be wound up and all assets forfeited to the Federal Government.

Kalu, who is the Senator representing Abia North in the National Assembly, had been arraigned alongside his company, Slok Nigeria Limited and Udeh Udeogu, his Director of Finance and Accounts at the Abia State Government House, over an amended 39-count charge bordering on conspiring and diverting the sum of N7.65bn from the coffers of the state.

The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charge preferred against them by the EFCC, thereby leading to their full trial.

In the course of the trial, the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, called 19 witnesses and tendered several documents that were admitted in evidence by the court.

The defendants, however, testified on behalf of themselves during the trial.

The parties, during the proceedings on Tuesday, October 22, 2019, adopted their final written addresses.

In his final submission, the prosecution counsel, Jacobs, urged the judge to jail the defendants, saying the prosecution had proved the allegations against them.

Jacobs also urged the court to wind up the company as provided by the Law and all its assets forfeited to the Federal Government.

However, the defence counsel urged the court to “dismiss the charges, acquit and discharge” their clients.

Delivering his judgment, Justice Idris found the defendants guilty on all counts.

Justice Idris held that the prosecution had established its case against the defendants.

The Judge further held that “the case was conclusively investigated, as the prosecution conducted thorough investigations.”

Justice Idris, therefore, convicted and sentenced the first defendant,
Kalu to five years imprisonment on counts 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11; three years on counts 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32,
33; 12 years on counts 34, 35, 36, 37 and 38 and five years on count 39.

The second defendant was convicted and sentenced to three years imprisonment on counts 24, 25, 27, 28, 30, 31, 32 and 10 years on counts 34, 37, 38 and 39.

Justice Idris further held that “In respect of the third convict, Slok Nigeria Limited, an order is hereby made that the company shall hereupon and without further assurances, but for this order, be wound up and all its assets and properties forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.”

Wilson Uwujaren

Head, Media & Publicity

14 December 2019

#Newsworthy…

Ibrahim Magu, Kalu Makes Symbolic Statements.

The Nigerian information space exploded on Thursday December 4, 2019, when news broke that the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has convicted a former governor of Abia State and Senator representing Abia North in the Senate, Senator Orji Kalu, of N7.1bn fraud and sentenced him to 12 years imprisonment.

Senator Kalu was convicted alongside his firm, Slok Nigeria Limited and his
Director of Finance and Account at the Abia State Government House, Mr. Jones Udeogu who served under him when he was Abia state governor.

While Udeogu was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment, the judge ordered the winding up of Slok Nigeria Limited, holding that its assets and properties be forfeited to government.

The judgment, delivered by Justice Mohammed Idris, shocked and stunned the whole nation, not only because the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC had been on this case for 12 years after it first filed the fraud charges against Kalu in 2007, but also for the fact that the former Abia state governor had been widely regarded as a sacred cow and one of the most trusted ally and confidant of President Buhari; a claim he seemingly invoked and exploited to maximum effect when INEC was compelled by the courts to issue him with a certificate of return as Abia North Senator and most recently when the Supreme Court validated his victory and dismissed all the petitions challenging his election victory.

Not many people believed that a court of law in Nigeria would be bold enough to convict a man whose relationship with President Mohammadu Buhari, was such that he even took a well celebrated chieftaincy title from Katsina, the President’s state and his ride to the Senate became so smooth once he joined APC, the ruling Party, thus lending more credence to the narrative that your sins will be forgiven once you joined APC.

In any case, with this dramatic conviction of Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, it appears that many people have grossly underestimated the unflinching tenacity and crusade like commitment of the EFCC boss, Ibrahim Magu to the anti corruption war. This conviction, coming at this very auspicious time in the evolution of the anti corruption war, has more than consolidated the argument that Ibrahim Magu ought to be confirmed and retained as the substantive head of the EFCC.

It also sends a reassuring signal to the international community that Nigeria is quite serious about tackling corruption frontally, with a dedicated and courageous man in charge, but most importantly it delivers a clear and direct warning to all those under EFCC investigation for various fraud related allegations, but enjoying some form of official authority and responsibility, that the EFCC under Magu, is not going to dilly dally over fraud and corruption cases anymore and sooner than later, a proper and complete closure will be brought to many of the very outstanding and astounding cases.

Indeed, one of the most satisfying aspects of the judgement and conviction of Senator Orji Kalu was the commendation given to the EFCC by the Judge. In pronouncing the convicts guilty, Justice Idris had only glowing praise for the EFCC, stating unequivocally that the Commission proved its case beyond reasonable doubt.

Out of the 39 counts filed against the trio, the judge convicted Kalu of the entire 28 counts in which his name featured. On each of counts 1-11 and 39, he was sentenced to five years imprisonment; on each of counts 23-33, he was sentenced to three years imprisonment; and on each of counts 34-38, he was sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment.

The judge, who hailed the investigation that culminated into the charge as in-depth and conclusive, said: “No gaps were left unfilled. This is the acceptable standard. I hold the view that the prosecution has established its case against the defendants; it did not fall short of the standard required by law in money laundering offences. It is clear upon the facts before this court that the prosecution had this case conclusively investigated before opting to bring this charge against the defendants. In other words, the prosecution did an in-depth and conclusive investigation.”

The import of this very succinct observation by the learned Justice Idris is a clear affirmation of the giant strides the EFCC under Ibrahim Magu has accomplished. Gone are the days when the Commission was often embarrassed by sitting judges and had to hurriedly withdraw promising cases from court as a result of shoddy and haphazardly construed investigations in their eagerness to secure glory seeking convictions. Under Magu’s unerring watch, the EFCC has transformed into a meticulous, clinical, dogged and tenacious investigative machine, with the ultimate objective of ensuring that any charge that is eventually tabled before the courts would have been throughly investigated and prepared with the utmost care and intention to secure a conviction at the end of trial.

It is also worth stating here that the conviction of Senator Orji Uzor Kalu is quite significant as it falls in line with the EFCC’s determination to bring as many
Politically Exposed Persons, PEPs to book; a drive which had already convicted Jolly Nyame, a former governor of Taraba State and Joshua Dariye, a serving Senator and a former governor of Plateau state both of whom are currently serving jail terms at Kuje Prison.

Dariye and Nyame, who were sentenced to 14 years in prison had approached the Court of Appeal to challenge the ‘guilty’ verdict handed down on them by a Federal Capital Territory High Court, Gudu presided over by Justice Adebukola Banjoko. However, while upholding their convictions, the Appellate Court commuted Dariye’s jail term to 10 years and that of Nyame to 12 years with a fine of N495 million.

It is highly anticipated that Senator Orji Uzor Kalu may also approach the court if Appeal to try and overturn his own conviction too. Indeed, a legal practitioner ostensibly speaking on behalf of the Abia North Senator has already boasted that the judgement will be appealed from the Appeal Court up to the Supreme Court, even insisting that there was no cause for alarm.

However, without prejudice to whatever transpires henceforth legally, the point remains that with this conviction of Senator Orji Kalu, the EFCC, led by Ibrahim Magu as the acting Chairman, has proven once more that the Commission remains consistent in its concerted efforts towards ensuring that the negative narrative of pervasive corruption in the Nigerian system is changed for the better, and the perception that some persons are sacred cows who are above the Law, is altered.

There is no doubt that in the last four years, the political will of President Muhammadu Buhari has emboldened and energized the EFCC to embark on enforcement and preventive measures against corruption with a view to tame the monster and with the preventive, enforcement and prosecution mandate given to the Commission, all that is needed is the combination of courage, integrity, and determination which has been proved beyond reasonably doubt are all embodied in Magu and which will be intensified with the confirmation of a substantive authority to drive the anti corruption war to new, successful heights.

Indeed, like Ibrahim Magu himself said, the battle to make the country a place where foreign in

#Newsworthy…

NAC – The 12 years prison sentence of kalu shows that EFCC boss fears nobody.

Anti-graft group, Nigerians Against Corruption, NAC, has described the conviction of former governor of Abia state, Orji UzorKalu, by Justice Muhammed Idris of a Federal High Court in Lagos as a mark that shows EFCC boss, Ibrahim Magu means business with the President Buhari’s anti-corrution war.

Orji Kalu, who is the Senate Chief Whip, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for stealing public funds while in office. Justice Idris further held that Mr Kalu’s company, Slok Nigeria Limited, the third defendant, be wounded up and all assets forfeited to the federal government.

Commenting on the judgment, the group’s National coordinator said with this feat, Magu deserves the support of all well meaning Nigerians while calling on the President to as a matter of exigency renominate him for a fresh 4-year term as the EFCC chairman.

“The conviction of a whole Senate Chief Whip has shown that Mr Ibrahim Magu is serious about eradicating financial corruption in our polity. If a former governor and a member of the President’s party can bag a 12 year jail term, I tell you this man means business”.

“Don’t forget that Orji Kalu holds a chieftaincy title from President Buhari’s hometown of Daura. His various media outfits also gave the president awards yet, Ibrahim Magu has sent him to jailed.

“I seriously call on President Buhari to return Magu as EFCC boss and also empower the agency to do much more. I also want to urge Nigerians to cooperate with this government to get rid of corruption in Nigeria.

The anti-graft crusader also added that Nigerians should expect the conviction of more high profile Nigerians.

#Newsworthy…

Kalu to present bail application, stay execution

…two others found guilty

Lawyers of the former governor of Abia State and Chief Whip of the Senate, Dr Orji Uzor Kalu, have concluded arrangements to file a stay of execution and bail pending appeal on his behalf following his conviction over charges of N7.2 billion fraud brought against him and two others by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Justice Muhammed Idris of the Federal High Court, Lagos in his judgment, convicted Kalu, former Director of Finance in Abia State, Jones Ude Udeogo, and a company, Slok Nigeria Ltd, of the alleged offences.

Reacting to the court’s judgment, one of Kalu’s lawyers, Chief Charles Ewelunta, confirmed that the legal team had obtained the Certified True Copy (CTC) and would study the judgment to guide the counsel in filing an appeal.

The counsel noted that before the appeal, the team will file applications for a stay of execution and bail pending appeal on Kalu’s behalf, which are permissible in law.

In his judgment, Justice Idris chronicled all counts and pronounced Kalu, Udeogu and Slok guilty.

In his sentence to Kalu, Justice Idris said: “On counts one, two, three, and four, you are sentenced to five years imprisonment on each count. On counts six to 11, you are sentenced to three years imprisonment each. On counts 23 to 33 you are sentenced to three years imprisonment on each count, while on counts 34 to 38, you are sentenced to 12 years imprisonment each. On count 39, you are sentenced to five years imprisonment.”

For the second defendant, (Udeogu) the court sentenced him to three years imprisonment on counts 23 to 33, and 10 years imprisonment on counts 34 to 38. He was also sentenced to five years imprisonment on counts 39.

For the Company, Slok Nigeria Ltd, the court ordered that it be wound up and all its assets forfeited to the Federal Government.

The court held that the terms of imprisonment shall run concurrently.

Kalu and others were on October 31, 2016 arraigned, wherein they pleaded not guilty. The charges were amended on July 16, 2018.

In May 2018, Justice Idris who sat as trial judge in the charge against Kalu, was elevated to the Court of Appeal. He, however, continued to conduct trial following a fiat from the Appeal Court President authorising him to conclude the case.

Following accelerated hearing, Idris concluded trial of the defendants in August 2019 and adjourned the case for adoption of addresses. On October 22, both the prosecution and defence counsels adopted their written submissions before the court, and Justice Idris consequently reserved judgment until December 2, 2019.

On December 2, judgment day was shifted to today.

#Newsworthy…

Just in – Court forfeits kalu’s properties.

…orders houses and assets forfeited to FG

Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court Lagos has ordered ex-governor, Orji Uzor Kalu’s company, Slok Nigeria Limited, be wounded up and all its assets forfeited to the Federal government.

The order came as part of the 12 years imprisonment handed over to the ex-governor for N7.65 billion fraud he perpetrated while he was governor of Abia state. He was found guilty of using his company to launder money from the state coffers.

#Newsworthy…

Nigerians react to Court’s decision on kalu.

…reactions from Nigerians state that ‘na audio conviction’

Actress Uche Jombo and other Nigerians are reacting to the Federal High Court in Lagos’s verdict sentencing former Abia state governor, Orji Uzor Kalu, to 12 years imprisonment for N7.6 billion fraud which he allegedly carried out when he was governor of Abia state from 1999 to 2007.

While some applaud the EFCC for trying the former governor, others are of the opinion that the sentencing is fake. They argue that Kalu will appeal the sentencing at the Supreme court and it will be upturned.

See reactions below

Uche Jombo, other Nigerians react to Orji Uzor Kalu

Uche Jombo, other Nigerians react to Orji Uzor Kalu

Uche Jombo, other Nigerians react to Orji Uzor Kalu

Uche Jombo, other Nigerians react to Orji Uzor Kalu
Uche Jombo, other Nigerians react to Orji Uzor Kalu
Uche Jombo, other Nigerians react to Orji Uzor Kalu
Uche Jombo, other Nigerians react to Orji Uzor Kalu
Uche Jombo, other Nigerians react to Orji Uzor Kalu
Uche Jombo, other Nigerians react to Orji Uzor Kalu
Uche Jombo, other Nigerians react to Orji Uzor Kalu
Uche Jombo, other Nigerians react to Orji Uzor Kalu
Uche Jombo, other Nigerians react to Orji Uzor Kalu
Uche Jombo, other Nigerians react to Orji Uzor Kalu
Uche Jombo, other Nigerians react to Orji Uzor Kalu
Uche Jombo, other Nigerians react to Orji Uzor Kalu

#Newsworthy…

Court sentence kalu to 12 years imprisonment.

…begs not to be handcuffed in public

Justice Idris Mohammed of the Federal High Court in Lagos, has sentenced Sen. Orji Uzor Kalu, to 12 years imprisonment after declaring the former Abia state governor guilty of N7.1bn fraud charges levelled against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

The Judge declared Kalu and his co-defendants guilty of the 39 counts filed against them by the EFCC.

While being escorted out of court, Kalu, who is the Senate’s Chief Whip, begged the prison warders not to handcuff him in public.

“Where are you taking us to now? Please don’t handcuff me. I will follow you.” he said

#Newsworthy…

Kalu in trouble on Thursday for fraud accusation.

The Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday fixed Thursday (December 5) for judgment in the 12-year trial of a former Abia State Governor, Orji Uzor Kalu, and two others for alleged N7.65bn fraud.

The judgment, which was originally scheduled for Monday, could not be delivered following Justice Mohammed Idris’ absence.

Kalu’s co-defendants are his firm, 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.

The case has been on since 2007 when they were first arraigned for the offenses, but before a different judge.
In an amended 39 counts, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) accused them of conspiring and diverting N7.65bn from the coffers of the state.

The EFCC alleged that Kalu, who was 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.”

It claimed further 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.”

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.

19 witnesses also testified on the government’s behalf.

But the defendants pleaded not guilty.

At the last sitting of the court on October 22, 2019, Jacobs urged the judge to jail the defendants as the prosecution had proved the allegations against them.

Jacobs said the 2nd defendant had already admitted to the offense both in his extrajudicial statement and under cross-examination.

“The admission is binding on all the defendants,” the prosecutor said.

He added that contrary to Kalu’s statement that Abia State did not have as much as N7bn during his administration, information from the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation showed total allocation to Abia State under Kalu was N137bn.

However, the defense urged the court to dismiss the charges, acquit and discharge their clients.

#Newsworthy…

Kalu celebrates with Methodist Archbishop Olawuyi Of Lagos …

Former governor of Abia state and Chief Whip of the Senate, Dr. Orji Kalu has congratulated the Archbishop of Methodist Church of Nigeria, Diocese of Lagos, Most Rev. Isaac Olawuyi on his 60th birthday.

Kalu described the religious leader as a role model not only to members of the Methodist Church but Christian community at large.

The former governor, while extolling the virtues of the celebrant, commended the efforts of spiritual leaders in promoting peaceful co-existence among Nigerians.

In a goodwill message to the celebrator, Kalu prayed to God to strengthen Archbishop Olawuyi in his endeavours.

The letter read: “It is with happiness that I write to convey my warm greetings to you and your family on your 60th birthday.

“Sir, having sustained a close relationship with you over the years, I cherish like many other people, your selfless leadership qualities as exemplified in different capacities in the service of God and humanity.

“Under your watch, the Archdiocese of Lagos, Methodist Church of Nigeria, has witnessed robust growth. I acknowledge and celebrate your contributions to christianity beyond Nigeria. Sir, as you attain this milestone, it is my prayer that God will continue to strengthen you in all your endeavours”.

He wished Archbishop Olawuyi continued success in the service of God and humanity.

#Newsworthy…