ORJI KALU PLEAD NOT GUILTY OF MONEY LAUNDERING

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Lagos – The Economic and Financial Crimes
Commission (EFCC) on Monday charged
former Gov. Orji Uzor Kalu of Abia with money
laundering before a Federal High Court in
Lagos.
Kalu is charged alongside his company, Slok
Nigeria Ltd., and his former Commissioner for
Finance, Jones Ude, on 34 counts bordering
on money laundering.
The accused pleaded not guilty to the
charges.
After the plea, counsel to the accused, Mr
Mike Ozekhome (SAN), urged the trial judge,
Justice Mohammed Idris, to allow the accused
to continue with an earlier bail condition.
Ozekhome informed the court that the
accused had earlier been arraigned before
Justice Nyako, Adamu Bello and Uweh, all of
Abuja Federal High Courts before they were
re-arraigned today.
The prosecutor, Mr Adeniyi Adebisi, did not
oppose the submission of defence counsel.
Adebisi, however, added that EFCC was only
interested in the justice of the case which
included the trial of the accused persons.
Idris consequently, adjourned the case to Dec.
12 and 13 for trial and ordered that the
accused continue with the subsisting bail
terms.
In the charge, the accused were alleged to
have committed the offence between August
2001 and October 2005.
Kalu was alleged to have utilised his company
to retain in the account of a First Inland Bank,
now FCMB, N200 million.
The sum is alleged to have formed part of
funds illegally derived from the coffers of the
Abia State Government.
In one of the counts, his company (Slok Nig
Ltd) and one Emeka Abone, who is said to be
at large, were also alleged to have retained in
the company’s account N200 million, on
behalf of the first accused.
They were alleged to have utilised Manny
Bank (now Fidelity Bank Plc), Spring Bank Plc,
the defunct Standard Trust Bank and Finland
Bank, now First City Monument Bank (FCMB).
In counts one to 10, the accused were alleged
to have retained about N2.5 billion in different
accounts which funds were said to belong to
the Abia State Government.
Cumulatively in all the counts, the accused
were alleged to have diverted over N3.2
billion from the Abia State Government’s
treasury during Kalu’s tenure as governor.
The offence is said to have contravened the
provisions of sections 15(6), 16, and 21 of the
Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2005.
It is also said to have contravened the
provisions of the Money Laundering Act of
1995 as amended by the amendment Act No.
9 of 2002 and section 477 of the Criminal
Code Act, Laws of the Federation, 1990.

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