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N3.2bn Fraud: FCMB Tenders Documentary Evidence Against Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, Others

A compliance Officer with First City Monument Bank (FCMB), Mrs. Toyosi Ekorhi, on Wednesday, tendered two bank documents used by Slok Nigeria Limited, a company belonging to the former Abia State Governor, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, before a Federal High Court, Lagos, in the ongoing trial of the former governor and two others over alleged N3.2 billion fraud.

Others facing trial on the alleged fraud are: his former Finance Commissioner, Udeh Jones Udeogu, and his Kalu's company, Slok Nigeria Limited.

They are being tried before the court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on an amended 34 count-charge of the alleged fraud.

At the resumed trial of the defendants, Mrs.Ekorhi, who is fifth witnes of the EFCC tendered two documents which are account opening package and statement of account of Slok Nigeria Limited.

The Witnes while being led-in-evidence by the prosecutor, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), told the court that the two documents were retrieved from the archive of Inland Bank, which her bank had acquired.

The defence legal team did not opposed to the admissibility of the documents.

Consequently, the court presided over by Justice Mohammed Idris admitted the two documents and marked them as exhibit 57, and Exhibit 58 to 93.

The witness who claimed to have joined FCMB in October 13, 2008, in her evidence told the court that the signatories to exhibit 58 ( account opening package) are Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, Festus Chukwuemeka, Madugbue Okocha, and Benedict E. Edet. 

While the signatories to the account's mandate card are: Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, Emeka Abunne, Ogbonna Amougo, Madukwe Okocha. Adding that the documents authentication was done on November 8, 1999, by one Jullie O. 

However, the witness while being cross-examined by Goddy Uche (SAN) lawyer to Dr. Kalu, told the court that from the exhibit F75 which is before the court, the Directors of Slok Nigeria Limited are Chief I. J. Ijeoma, Mrs. Ifeoma Kalu, M. S. Ogbonne Kalu, Mrs. E. Agbor, Mrs. M. Uzor and Mr. M. Uzor. Adding that Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu was not listed as director in his company, Slok Nigeria Limited.

The witness also told the court that she did not have the knowledge of the two documents neither did she handle the transactions as were done in Fin Bank, between August 27, 2008 and November 12, 2012.

Ekorhi when probed by Chief Solo Akuma (SAN), lawyer to the second defendant, Udeogu, said the name of the second defendant did not appear in the bank documents as a director in Slok Nigeria Limited.

Chief K. C. Nwofo (SAN) counsel to Slok Nigeria Limited, however sought for adjournment to enable him go through the bank's documents, which he said were served on him today.

Consequently, the presiding judge, Justice Mohammed Idris, adjourned the matter till Thursday, for continuation of cross-examination of the witness.

Kalu alongside his former aide, Udeh Udeogu, and his company, Slok Nigeria Limited, are being tried by the EFCC before the court on an amended 34 count-charge of alleged N3.2 billion fraud.

In the amended charge marked FHC/L/56C/08, Dr. Kalu and other accused persons were alleged to have allegedly diverted about N3.2 billions from Abia State Government's treasury between 2001 and 2005.

They were also alleged to have used the following banks to perpetrate the alleged fraud, Manny Bank, Spring Bank Plc,( now Heritage Bank), the defunct Standard Trust Bank, now United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA) and Fin Land Bank, now First City Monument Bank (FCMB).

The alleged offences according to the EFCC are contrary to sections 17(c) 16, 14(1)(b)17(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2003, and sections 427 of the same Accounts which domiciled with Mammy Bank, Citizen Bank and Standard Trust Bank (STB) now UBA Plc, adding that the signatories to the accounts were the Director of Finance and Chief of Staff.

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