SENATE chief whip and former Abia State governor Senator Orji Uzor Kalu has been sentenced to 12 years in jail after being found guilty of fraud to the tune of N7.65bn ($21m) by a Lagos federal high court today.
Between 1999 and 2007, Senator Kalu served as the Abia State governor and it is his actions while in office that were probed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). In February this year, Senator Kalu, 59, was elected as the senator representing Abia North Senatorial District with a margin of over 10,000 votes despite the pending corruption charges against him.
Despite him being favoured by the current administration, the EFCC refused to drop its case against him and today a high court ruled on the matter which had been pending for years. After the trial, the court found Senator Kalu and his co-defendants guilty of the entire 39 counts filed against them by the EFCC
Senator Kalu was charged alongside a former Abia State finance commissioner Jones Udeogo and his company, Slok Nigeria. While Senator Kalu and his company were found guilty of all the 39 counts, Mr Udeogo was convicted on 34 counts and sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment.
Mr Udeogu had also served as the director of finance and accounts at the Abia State Government House during Senator Kalu’s tenure as governor. Apart from sending both men to jail, the court also ruled ordered that the Slok Nigeria be wound up and its assets forfeited to the federal government.