By: BENEDICT SUNDAY, Kaduna
Ex-governor of Abia State, Orji Kalu, has been re-arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over alleged fraud of N7.65 billion.
Kalu was on Tuesday, July 17 arraigned before a Federal High Court in Lagos alongside his company, Slok Nigeria Limited, and his former director of finance and account when he was governor of the state.
The re-arraignment of the defendants followed an amendment to the charges filed against them 11 years ago.
With the amendment, the number of charges against the defendants were increased from 34 to 39 and the amount quoted in the alleged fraud was increased from 2.9bn to N7.65bn.
According to the prosecuting counsel for the EFCC, Rotimi Jacobs, the charges were amended after new facts emerged from 19 witnesses who had testified against the defendants.
Justice Mohammed Idris on Tuesday, July 17 dismissed the objection raised by the defence counsel to the amended charge sheet, paving the way for the re-arraignment of Kalu and his codefendant
One of the charge stated that Kalu“did procure Slok Nigeria Limited – a company solely ownedby 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.
According to the prosecution, 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.
Kalu and his co-defendants also allegedly stole a total of N460m from the Abia state government treasury between July and December 2002.