Alex Enumah in Abuja
The Federal Government on Monday reduced the number of charges against a former governor of Abia State, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu, his company, Slok Nigeria Limited, and business associate, Jones Udeogo, from 107 to 32 counts.
They were alleged to have diverted about N5.6bn belonging to the state.
This is not the first time charges against the governor have been amended. At various times, EFCC had amended the charges to 112 and 96 counts.
The offences are linked to stealing, corruption and money laundering.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had in 2007 initially filed 107 counts against Kalu, Slok and Udeogo.
Kalu and his co-defendants were accused of diverting the state’s fund while he was governor of Abia State between 1999 and 2007.
At Monday’s proceedings before Justice Anwuli Chikere of the Federal High Court in Abuja, the defendants’ re-arraigment was stalled following a pending appeal involving the 3rd defendant, Slok Nigeria Limited, at the Supreme Court.
The 3rd defendant’s counsel, Chief Solomon Akuma (SAN), drew the court’s attention to the subsisting appeal at the apex court and urged the court to adjourn the suit to allow parties sort out the appeal.
However, the prosecuting counsel, Mr. Oluwaleke Atolagbe, citing section 306 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015, which he said prohibited stay of proceedings in a criminal matter at the trial court.
Atolagbe opposed the application for adjournment sought by the 3rd defendant.
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