EFCC to prosecute Orji Kalu over alleged N5.6bn fraud
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has been given the go ahead by the Supreme Court to prosecute the former Governor of Abia state, Orji Uzor Kalu on a 107-charge bordering on corruption, Vanguard reports.
The former governor who governed Abia state between 1999 and 2007 is alleged to have perpetuated alleged fraud to the tune of N5.6billion while in office.
He was docked before the Abuja division of the Federal High Court on July 27, 2007, by the anti-graft agency, but for the past eight years, Kalu through various interlocutory applications stalled moves by the prosecution to open its case against him. Kalu, had taken the case before the Court of Appeal in Abuja after the trial court refused to quash the charges against him. However, the appellate court, in a unanimous judgment, upheld the competence of the charge, adding that the high court was constitutionally empowered to exercise jurisdiction on the trial. But Kalu dissatisfied with the verdict approached the Supreme Court, begging it to set-aside the concurrent findings of the two lower courts. The former governor, through his lawyer Chief Awa Kalu, SAN, contended that the EFCC failed to establish a prima-facie nexus linking him to the ingredients of the offence contained in the charge. Nevertheless, the apex court, on Friday, March 18 in a unanimous judgment dismissed the appeal and it ordered the appellant to go and face his trial before the high court.
Justice Suleiman Galadima who delivered the lead verdict ruled that the former governor has a case to answer pertaining to allegations that were levelled against him by the EFCC. In another development, the former aviation minister and director of media for the Goodluck Jonathan campaign organization, Femi Fani-kayode has accused the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of spreading spurious and childish allegations of fraud against him in the pages of newspapers. Fani-Kayode was reacting to reports in the media which linked him among others, to a sum of N3.145bn which was allegedly transferred to the private accounts of some members of the Peoples Democratic Party presidential campaign organisation in the buildup to the last presidential election. The former minister said the ant graft agency was yet to make a formal accusation or allegation against him, vowing to defend himself forcefully if any such charge was made.