by Alabi Usman
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) ON Monday re-arraigned a former Governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu before a Federal High Court in Lagos for alleged money laundering charges.
The former governor who was governor of Abia State between 1999 and 2007 was earlier arraigned before a Federal High Court in Abuja on the same charge.
The former governor was arraigned on a 34 counts of money laundering. Kalu who was first arraigned in 2007 on a 96-count charge of money laundering.
After a lengthy legal battle, the Supreme Court, in 2016, ordered him to stand trial.
Also arraigned before the court were Udeh Udeogu, a former Director of Finance in the state, and Slok Nigeria Limited. In the amended charge, the EFCC alleged that Mr. Kalu and the accused persons had, between August 7, 2001, and December 2005, used the said money to procure Slok Nigeria Limited, a company EFCC said solely belongs to the former governor and his family.
The accused persons and one Emeka Abone, said to be at large, were also alleged to have between May 2002 and December 2005, conspired among themselves to launder funds illegally derived from the Treasury of Abia State government.
The EFCC also alleged that the accused persons aggregated several millions of naira amounting to N3.2 billion. They were alleged to have laundered the money through Manny Bank, now Fidelity Bank Plc, Spring Bank, Spring Bank Plc, the defunct Standard Trust Bank and Fin Land Bank, now First City Monument Bank (FCMB).
However in the course of the trial, the presiding judge, Justice Mohammed Idris, granted the request of the counsel to the accused persons that they should continue with the former bail conditions.
The trial was adjourned till December 12 and 13, 2016