Orji Kalu knows fate soon as EFCC closes case in ‘N3.2bn fraud’

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Friday closed its case against a former Governor of Abia, Orji Kalu and two others charged with N3.2 billion fraud.

The EFCC Prosecutor, Mr Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), announced closure of the prosecution’s case at the Federal High Court, Lagos.

The EFCC had on October 31, 2016, slammed a 34-count charge bordering on N3.2 billion fraud against Kalu, his former Commissioner for Finance, Ude Udeogo, and Slok Nigeria Ltd.

The accused had pleaded not guilty to the charge and were granted bails.

NAN reports that Jacobs had led the 17th prosecution witness, Chidi Chukwuka, in evidence at the last adjournment.

At the resumed trial of the case on Friday, Kalu’s counsel, Mr Awa Kalu (SAN), continued the cross-examination of the witness.

Chukwuka had earlier told the court that he was a Deputy Director in the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) and an investigator with the EFCC as at the time of the alleged fraud.

He said during his investigations, he had obtained statements from Mr Samuel Iheke, a former Permanent Secretary in the State Ministry of Local

Government and Chieftaincy Affairs.

He said he also obtained statements from Mr Chinedum Elechi, the then Secretary, Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) in Abia.

Awa applied to tender the statements the witness had identified and same were admitted and marked as Exhibits Z to Z9 respectively.

When the witness was asked what the state officials had told him was the reason for the N26 million monthly withdrawals from the Joint Account Allocation Committee (JAAC) account of the state, the witness replied: “The officials had claimed that the withdrawals were used for sanitation in Abia State.”

He testified that over N2.5 billion was transferred from the Abia Government House main account to Abia State University and Secondary Education

Management Board accounts.

Counsel to the second accused, Mr Solo Akuma (SAN), asked if the witness was fully involved in the investigation to which he responded in the

affirmative.

Akuma: By count 24 of the charge preferred by the EFCC against the accused, is it correct to say that the N554 million came in various cheques?

Witness: I don’t know.

He said the EFCC did not investigate the accused before the petition from Eyinnaya Abaribe.

Mr Kingsley Nwofo (SAN), counsel to Slok Nigerai Ltd., asked the witness if any of the statements had shown funds move from the Government House accounts to the third accused (Slok), he responded in the negative.

Justice Mohammed Idris adjourned the case until May 30 and May 31 for defence to open their case.

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