A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Monday has granted the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the go ahead to arraign the former Governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu on May 16, for charges bordering on alleged diversion of cash to the tune of N5.6bn belonging to the state.
The decision of the judge in charge of the trial, Justice Anwuli Chikere to allow the re-arraignment of the former governor came on the heels of the judgement reached by the Supreme Court, which on March 18, held that the defendant has a criminal case to answer.
Kalu – his company, Slok Nigeria Limited – and Mr. Udeh Jones Udeogo, were first arraigned on July 27, 2007 by the country’s anti-graft agency on a 107-count charge of money laundering and diversion of public funds, while he was governor of Abia State between 1999 and 2007.
Kalu’s trial, it was gathered, was stalled for over eight years due to his consistent challenging of the criminal charges leveled against him at various courts.
The lawyer of the anti-graft agency, Mr. Oluwaleke Atolagbe, while handing over a copy of the judgment of the Supreme Court validating the trial to Justice Chikere, during the Monday’s proceedings, said:
“This matter is slated for mention. On March 18, 2016, the Supreme Court dismissed the appeals by the defendant.
“I will urge my lord to adjourn the case to afford the prosecution some time to take some steps. We will need about two weeks. We seek an adjournment for the defendants to take their plea.”
The judge then fixed May 16 for their re-arraignment.