Alleged N7.2bn fraud: I never had direct contact with Orji Kalu – Ex-commissioner for Finance

Orji Uzor Kalu
Orji Uzor Kalu

A former Commissioner for Finance in Abia State, Ude Udeogo, on Wednesday, told a Lagos Division of the Federal High Court that he had no direct contact with the governor except through the Chief of Staff at Government House, Umuahia.

Mr Udeogo is the second defendant in the alleged N7.2billion money laundering case against him, former governor of Abia State, Orji Kalu, and a company, Slok Nigeria Limited.

“According to Civil Service Rules, nobody can bypass the Chief of Staff to see or take orders from the governor, all the directors take orders from the Chief of Staff, unit heads take orders from their various directors and it is only the Chief of Staff that can give approval for who gets what from the Government House bank accounts,” he said.

“My duty then was just to work out the release of funds in any form, either by cash or cheque from the accounts,” he said.

He also told the court that all monies released were done after the approval of the Chief of Staff, stating that he or any of his staff did not receive any money to pay into the account of the third defendant.

“Neither I and any other staff of Government House paid any money into Slok account. We also did not receive any Board Resolution from Slok requesting for any money to be paid into Slok account.”

During cross-examination, Mr Udeogo while answering questions from the prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, told the court that he had a company with his wife who is now a sitting judge of the Abia State High Court and had no idea a civil servant was not meant to collect contract from the government they work for.

“I own Udex Nigeria Limited with my wife. I didn’t know a civil servant cannot collect contract from the government,” he said.

In his statement to the EFCC, Mr Udeogo said he had received verbal instructions from the general manager of Slok Nigeria Limited to help them recover their debt which was why he raised a draft in his company’s name and later gave it to Slok.

Mr Udeogo opened his defence on Wednesday after the first defendant, Mr Kalu, closed his case on Tuesday and is expected to present five witnesses in court for his defence, including himself.

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The matter was adjourned by the trial judge, Mohammed Idris, to August 29 for the continuation of defence by the 2nd defendant.

Mr Udeogo alongside his principal, Mr Kalu, and a company, Slok Nigeria Limited, are facing a 39-count charge bordering on money laundering and fraud to the tune of N7.2billion preferred against them by the EFCC.

All the accused pleaded not guilty to the charge.

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