Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court in Lagos on Thursday convicted and sentenced Senator Orji Uzo Kalu, a former Governor of Abia State, to 12 years imprisonment for N7.1billion fraud.
The ruling came 12 years after the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) filed fraud charges against Mr. Kalu.
Delivering his judgement Justice Mohammed said; “I, sincerely, cannot find my way clear in finding these defendants not guilty of the offences charged.”
“No gaps were left unfilled. This is the acceptable standard,” he added
He was convicted alongside Jones Udeogu, his Director of Finance and Account at the Abia State Government House, Umuahia, Abia State, who got 10 years imprisonment. The judge also ordered that his company, Slok Nigeria Limited be wind up with his assets forfeited to the government.
“An order is hereby made that the third convict shall without further assurances but from this order be wound up and all the assets and properties forfeited,” the judge said.
Justice Mohammed convicted Kalu of all counts brought against him. On each of counts 1 – 11 and 39, Kalu was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment; on counts 23 – 33 he was sentenced to 3 years imprisonment; and on counts 34 – 38, he was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment. That’s a total of 20 years imprisonment.
The judge however said that he will serve his prison terms concurrently, which mean he will spend a maximum of 12 years in jail.
Delivering his judgement the judge said; “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.
“In totality, I, sincerely, cannot find my way clear in finding these defendants not guilty of the offences charged. Having reviewed all that has been provided by the prosecution in terms of oral and documentary evidence, I am inclined to resolve the singular issue for determination in favour of the prosecution herein.”
After his conviction, Senator Kalu was reportedly heard begging the prison warders not to handcuff him in public.
Mr. Kalu is an APC senator and the Chief Whip in the Senate.
As the prison warder approached the ex-governor to take him away, he said; “Where are you taking us to now? Please, don’t handcuff me. I will follow you.”
No doubt, every corrupt politician in Nigeria will someday get their turn for their crime against Nigerians.
Ogbodo ThankGod is currently the Managing Director/CEO/Group Chief Editor at Naija Buzz News Network. He was the Chief Editor at NaijaBuzz.News before his new top leadership role. Ogbodo has years of experience in the Nigeria Media Industry and has co-founded some media companies. He is the founder of Ogbodo Solution Nigeria and 1Push.Ng. He loves playing football and is a strong supporter of Lionel Messi who he describes as the greatest footballer of all time.