The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission said on Tuesday that a former Director of Finance and Account at the Abia State Government House, Umuahia, Jones Udeogu, once claimed that the state engaged the company of a former governor of the state, Orji Kalu, to import Okrika (second-hand clothes) from Cotonou, Benin Republic.
According to an investigator with the EFCC, John Egem, Udeogu made the claim when he was confronted with documents showing movement of funds from the coffers of the Abia State Government House into the Inland Bank account of Kalu’s private company, Slok Nigeria Limited.
Egem said when Udeogu was, however, asked to produce documents showing any agreement between the government house and Slok Nigeria Limited, he was unable to do so.
Egem appeared on Tuesday as a prosecution witness before the Federal High Court in Lagos where Kalu, Udeogu and Slok Nigeria Limited are being tried for an alleged fraud of N2.9bn.
The EFCC, in the charges, claimed that Kalu and Udeogu conspired to use Slok to divert public funds when the ex-governor held sway in Abia State.
The anti-graft agency claimed that the money was allegedly diverted in tranches of N200m, N50m, N200m, N300.8m, N545m, N429m, N288.4m, N190m, N157m, N152.8m, N100m, N84m and N50m between August 13, 2003 and January 12, 2005.
The offence is said to be contrary to Section 17 (c) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2003 and punishable under Section 16 of the same Act.
But the defendants, who are being tried before Justice Mohammed Idris, pleaded not guilty.
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