Uzor-Kalu
Uzor-Kalu

Former governor of Abia State, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu yesterday paid a surprise visit to the national secretariat of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, where he met the party leaders. He was received by the National Chairman of the APC, Chief John Oyegun and the party’s National Working Committee, NWC. After the short meeting the former governor said Kalu in his speech said he decided to join the party following pressure from friends and well wishers. However, it is widely believed in political circles that Orji Uzor Kalu’s decision to join the APC, a political party that is still searching for followership and relevance in the South East, because of the corruption case that is hanging round his neck which was instituted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC. The former Abia State governor was on recently arraigned before a Federal High Court in Lagos on alleged money laundering charges. Also arraigned alongside the former governor is one Mr. Udeh Jones Udeogu and a company, Slok Nigeria Limited. Kalu, who was Abia State Governor from 1999 to 2007, was earlier arraigned before a Federal High Court in Abuja on the same charge. In a 34-counts amended charge, the Economic and Financial Crime Commission alleged that Kalu and his co- accused persons had between August 7, 2001, and December 2005, while he was the Governor of Abia State, used the said money to procure Slok Nigeria Limited. The anti-graft agency also alleged that the accused persons and one Emeka Abone, said to be at large, between May 2002 and December 2005, conspired among themselves to launder fund illegally derived from the Treasury of Abia State government. The EFCC also alleged that the accused persons aggregated several millions of naira amounting to N3.2 billion, property of Abia State government, knowing that the said amount formed parts of funds stolen from the Treasury of the state. The accused persons were alleged to have used Manny Bank, now Fidelity Bank Plc, Spring Bank Plc, the defunct Standard Trust Bank and Fin Land Bank, now First City Monument Bank (FCMB) to laundered the said money In counts one to 10, Uzor Kalu was alleged to have between August 13, 2003 and August 10, 2005, while he was the Abia State Governor, procured Slok Nigeria Limited, the company solely belongs to him and his family members, retained in his account domiciled with the Apapa branch of First Inland Bank Plc, the total sum of N2. 502, 600 billion, which formed parts of funds Illegally derived from the treasury of Abia State government, through Manny Bank (now Fidelity Bank Plc), which were converted into several bank drafts before they were paid into the account of Slok Nigeria Limited. EFCC prosecutor, Adeniyi Adebisi said the offences are contrary to sections 17(c) 16, 14(1) (b)17(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2003 He also said that the offences contravened sections 427 of the Criminal Code Act Cap. 77, Laws of the Federation, 1990, and punishable under section 16 of the same Act. However, the former Governor and the two other accused persons pleaded not guilty to the charges. Orji Uzor Kalu defection came ahead of December 12 and 13, 2016 when the trial of the accused persons will commence. Orji Uzor Kalu is believed to have joined other politicians that
stressing that N500 million released to him by the former NSA was meant for PDP leaders in the South-East to mobilise for the re-election of Goodluck Jonathan as president in the 2015 election. Nwobodo said that his joining APC is not for a job. “I am not looking for a job. I am talking because I want peace. I want our people to be part of the Federal Government at the centre. I had a problem being an opposition governor. I am not coming into APC because I want anything. I want our people to reintegrate and have our own share of the Federal Government resources,” he said. After Chief Nwobodo defected to the APC the EFCC went to sleep over the probe of the campaign funds. However, some members of theAPC in the South East saw through the veil of Nwobodo’s defection and insisted that his probe must not be swept under the carpet by the EFCC. Nwobodo’s reasons for defecting to the APC apparently did not cut ice with leaders of the party in the South East who told him to his face that it was fear of the backlash of Dasukigate that propelled him to defect to the party. Spokesman of APC in the South East, Osita Okechukwu, insisted that the party must screen Nwobodo and other that are cross-carpeting to the party in droves through “the window”. His words: “Political parties are like churches and mosques; they have open entry. However, there is the need to sieve the defectors. Is it not a paradox that those who are fingered in the Dasukigate scandal, people who rigged and mangled the 2015 general elections, are today wearing the badge of virtue and principle?”he said “We are not talking of position but pollution of our great party. He (Nwobodo) should first cleanse himself of the Dasukigate scandal. Don’t forget that the first cardinal programme of the APC is war against corruption; it is there in our manifesto. “My take on his defection into our great party through the window is same with those who classified him as a fugitive
are diplomatically seeking for shelter from the anti-corruption war of the President Mohammadu Buhari’s administration. The administration has soft-pedaled on the probe of some hitherto opposition politicians after they defected to the ruling party. For instance, former governor of Enugu State and founding member of the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Jim Nwobodo defected to the APC when anti-graft body started probing the N500million campaign fund he collected for the prosecution of PDP campaign in the South East zone during the last general election. When Nwobodo defected to the APC at a state APC stakeholders meeting hosted by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Jeffrey Onyeama, he laboured to explain why he dumped PDP,


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