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EFCC calls 16th witness in trial of former Abia State governor

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Former Abia State Governor, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu
Former Abia State Governor, Dr Orji Uzor Kalu

THE 16th witness in the trial of former Abia State Governor, Orji Uzor Kalu on Monday testified in a N32bn money laundering suit brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

Kalu alongside his company is standing trial before a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos.

The witness, Mr Robinson Imafidon, the Head of Regulatory Liaison in a first generation bank, narrated how a series of monetary transactions were carried out on the account of the Abia State Government House during Kalu’s tenure.

Nigerian Tribune recalls that the EFCC had, on October 31, 2016, slammed a 34-count bordering on N3.2bn fraud on Kalu and his former Commissioner for Finance, Ude Udeogo (the second accused).

At Monday’s proceedings, the EFCC prosecutor, Mr Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), led the witness in evidence.

Giving evidence the witness said he works as the bank’s regulatory liaison officer and has a work schedule of responding to emails and requests from regulators such as the EFCC, the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Securities and Exchange Commission, among others.

He told the court that EFCC had written a letter to the bank, requesting account opening documents of the Abia State Government House, Umuahia.

According to the witness, the document including the statement of account and mandate were retrieved from the system and after due certification and verification were sent to the EFCC.

The witness further added that on May 31, 2002, there were two cash deposits by the second accused in the sums of N2m and N7.3m respectively.

The witness told the court that on June 3, a draft of N10m was paid by the second accused; while on July 1, there was an issue of a demand draft of N11m and another draft of N15m on August 19.

He said on September 16, 2002, there were two cash deposits of N50,000 and N5m respectively by one M. A. Udoh, who was an accountant in Abia State at the time.

Under cross-examination, Mr Awa Kalu, counsel to the first accused, asked the witness, if he had ever testified before a court.
In response, the witness told the court that he had testified several times before law courts but could not recall how many times.

On whether it was the practice for two people to append their signatures on a document as shown in some of the exhibits, the witness replied, “two people may sign, but there are exceptions.

“When one of the signatories is not available, then someone else can sign; more so, where the issue is not so significant, then one person may sign.”

Justice Mohammed Idris adjourned continuation of the trial until April 17.

EFCC accused Kalu to have used his company to retain several sums of money in his account, illegally derived from the coffers of the Abia State Government.

The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The post EFCC calls 16th witness in trial of former Abia State governor appeared first on Tribune.

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