A top member of Buhari’s party has been sentenced to 12 years in prison after he was found guilty of 39 charges of fraud which is said to amount to over $19.6 million.
Senator Orji Uzor Kalu is a chief whip in the federal parliament’s upper house and a former governor of Nigeria’s Southeastern Abia State.
He was accused along with the company he controlled of diverting state funds during his time as governor of the South-Eastern Abia state between 1999 and 2007 with the charges brought fought by the country’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nigeria’s main anti-graft agency, led the prosecution against Kalu, also a former governor of the southeastern state of Abia.
According to EFCC, the former governor utilized his company’s account, Slok Nigeria Limited to retain the money from Abia state government between August 2001 and October 2005 during Kalu’s tenure. In one of the counts, the EFCC alleged that Mr. Kalu, who was Abia State Governor between 1999 and 2007, “did procure Slok Nigeria Limited – a company solely owned by 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.”
Also convicted were two other defendants, his firm Slok Nigeria and an official that served under him as Abia State governor. “The judge also ordered that Slok Nigeria Limited be wound up and its assets forfeited to the Federal Government,” EFCC statement added.
Orji Uzor Kalu served as governor of Abia State from 1999 to 2007 and in 2019 won a senatorial spot with ruling All Progressives Congress represent Abia North.
A former governor of Ekiti State, Peter Ayodele Fayose, is currently being probed by the EFCC. In the north-central Kano State, the incumbent governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, is the subject of a dollar bribe saga.
These all happening at a time when President Muhammadu Buhari has vowed to root out corruption in the country.
By John Paul Sama