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Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Court To Rule On Kalu’s Objection June 6

A Federal High Court on Monday in Lagos fixed June 6 foe ruling on the objection by a former Governor of Abia, Orji Uzor Kalu, to the evidence of a prosecution witness in his trial.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had on Oct. 31, 2016, slammed a 34-count charge of N3.2 billion fraud on Kalu and his ex-Commissioner for Finance, Ude Udeogo.

Also charged with Kalu is his company — Slok Nigeria Ltd. The accused had pleaded not guilty to the charges.

During an examination-in-chief on Monday, a prosecution witness, Mr Romanus Madu, led in evidence by EFCC prosecutor, Mr Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), said he did not author a statement requesting for the sum of N30.8 million bank draft in the course of his duties as a cashier in the Abia State Government House in 2005.

He identified his name on a document exhibited by the prosecution, but said that he was not the author, noting that his signature was not on the document.

The prosecutor also showed him two other applications for the bank drafts written by one Obasi John and Ogbonna J, which he also denied knowledge of the two individuals at the Government House.

He said he did know anything about bank drafts, but that he usually collects cash and hands it over to his “superior”, adding that he was not familiar with the names Obasi and Ogbonna.

When the prosecutor further sought to extract the witness’ evidence on the three applications, it was opposed by the defence lawyers.
In his complaint, Kalu's legal advisor, Chief Awa Kalu (SAN) said the prosecutor's activity was against the soul of the Evidence Act.

He contended that the witness can't be solicited to analyze marks from people he asserted he didn't have the foggiest idea.

In a similar vein, advice to the third denounced (Slok), Mr K. C. Nwofo (SAN), likewise contended that it was just a specialist that could be made inquiries on such a disagreeable issue.

In his response,however, the prosecutor demanded that the witness was "profoundly qualified" to give confirm on the announcement which he contended was composed and marked by him.

As per him, confirm concerning penmanship is not a select safeguard of a specialist.

"The law allows the court to take prove from the individual whose penmanship was said to have been produced or the individual who knows about the penmanship."

Subsequent to tuning in to the contentions of both sides, Justice Mohammed Idris dismissed until June 6 for decision.

In the charge, the denounced were asserted to have conferred the offense between August 2001 and October 2005.

Kalu was asserted to have used his organization (Slok) to hold in the record of a First Inland bank, (now FCMB), the whole of N200 million.

The whole is asserted to have shaped some portion of assets unlawfully gotten from the coffers of the Abia State Government.

Slok and one Emeka Abone, who is still everywhere, are additionally blamed for holding in the organization's record the whole of N200 million for the benefit of the principal denounced (Kalu).

The charged, as per the arraignment, additionally held about N2.5 billion in various records property of Abia.

Aggregately, in every one of the numbers, the blamed were affirmed to have occupied about N3.2 billion from the Abia State Government's treasury amid Kalu's residency as representative.

The offenses repudiated Sections 15(6), 16, and 21 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2005 and the Money Laundering Act of 1995 as changed by the alteration Act No.9 of 2002 and Section 477 of the Criminal Code Act, Laws of the Federation, 1990

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