The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, on Monday, gave the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, the nod to arraign the former Governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu on May 16.
Kalu who was hitherto answering to a 107-count corruption charge, will enter fresh plea to an amended 112-count charge dated February 11, 2008.
Trial Justice Anwuli Chikere granted EFCC the leave to re-arraign the former governor after she was furnished with judgment of the Supreme Court, which on March 18, held that the defendant has a criminal case to answer.
Kalu will be arraigned alongside his firm Slok Nigeria Limited and his alleged accomplice Mr. Udeh Jones Udeogu. Shortly after the trial court was served a copy of the apex court verdict, EFCC lawyer, Mr.Oluwa Leke Atolagbe, applied for an adjournment to enable the agency to effectively “prepare for the case”.
His application was not opposed by Kalu’s lawyer, Chief Awa Kalu, SAN, and that of the 2nd and 3rd defendants, Chief Solomon Akuma, SAN. Basically, the charge against the defendants borders on money laundering and illegal diversion of public funds to the tune of N5.6billion. The fraud was allegedly perpetuated while Kalu held sway as the governor of Abia State between 1999 and 2007.