Senate Chief Whip, Orji Kalu, faces second wave of prosecution by EFCC  over N7.1bn fraud allegation

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The Chief Whip of the Nigerian Senate, Orji Uzor Kalu, a former Governor of Abia State, may be facing a second wave of prosecution by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Tuesday. The commission had revealed its readiness to arraign the former governor before the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja.

EFCC disclosed that the former Abia governor will be arraigned before Justice Inyang Ekwo on money laundering charges.

It was highlighted that Senator Kalu, Governor of Abia State -1999 to 2007, had previously been found guilty and sentenced to 12 years imprisonment at the Lagos division of the federal high court.

The trial court had convicted the Senate Chief Whip as well as Slok Nigeria Limited, and a former director of finance in Abia State, Jones Udeogu, for allegedly diverting about N7.1billion from the state treasury to personal use.

The judgment was reversed at the Supreme Court. A seven-man panel of the Supreme Court had in a unanimous judgment delivered on May 8th, 2020, annulled the proceedings that led to Kalu’s conviction, noting that the trial judge, Justice Mohammed Idris, was already elevated to the Court of Appeal at the time he sat and delivered judgement against the defendants.

The apex court maintained that Justice Idris was no longer a judge of the Federal High Court as of December 5, 2019, the day the former governor and his co-defendants were found guilty of the money laundering charge.

The Supreme Court ordered a retrial of the defendants.

The EFCC, therefore, returns to the court on Tuesday with the former Abia governor.