Appointments: Southeast Not Being Marginalised, Says Orji Kalu

 

The Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu says that the South East is not being marginalized and the appointment of service chiefs by President Muhammadu Buhari from one particular region is justified.

According to him, security is very important and the president can decide to work with whoever he trusts, irrespective of what part of the country they come from.

“It’s good to also spread the service chiefs (and) I would like for people in the Senate to make a Bill that every region must have a service chief.

“But when you look at it, a service chief is like a personal staff of the president, they are not really constitutionally owned because you can only work with military men that you trust,” he said while addressing journalists in his office in Abuja.

“I can take you down to memory lane, all those who have been heads of state, they did the same thing the president did, there is nothing new.”

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Meanwhile, speaking on the RUGA settlement proposed by the Federal Government, he described the plan as a good idea.

According to him, “it is not an issue for anybody to be discussing”.

He went further to explain how he introduced the RUGA settlement in Abia state during his time as governor and how he provided water, land and electricity for the herders.

Senate Leadership: I Will Run For Deputy Senate President, Even If APC Refuses – Kalu

 

Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu has said that he will run for the position of Deputy Senate President regardless of what his party the All Progressives Congress (APC) decides.

This Orji Kalu said he will do in a bid to ensure that the Southeast is fully represented in all fairness.

“Let me be honest with you even if the party ask me not to run, I will run on the floor of the House, this is one position I have to run for because you cannot leave the Southeast alone, you can’t leave them behind,” Kalu argued.

The former Governor of Abia State who was a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily said the 9th Assembly will standout and do that which is right for the Nigerian people.

READ ALSO: Buhari Cannot Approve State Policing By Fiat Falana

He further stressed that giving the Southeast a worthy position is in line with ensuring that the nation is ruled with equity.

“We are in the process of doing the right thing and the East will be given a place in the scheme of things. I am asking that the East should be given the Deputy Senate President. There is a high level of discussions about that and I’m sure that by partisan it would be a law in the House”.

Kalu said that the Senators of the 9th Assembly will put Nigerians above their party interest and legislate in a manner that the people will enjoy.

Alleged N7.65bn Fraud: Appeal Court Dismisses Orji Kalu’s Objections

Orji Kalu Berates Governors Over Arbitrary Expenses

 

 

The Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos has upheld the dismissal of the ‘no-case submission’ filed by a former Governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu, in response to the N7.65bn fraud charge filed against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

In a lead judgment by Justice Mohammed Garba, the Court of Appeal agreed that Justice Mohammed Idris, then of the Federal High Court in Lagos, was right to have on July 31, 2018, dismissed Kalu’s no-case submission and ordered him to put in his defence.

The appellate court also dismissed the appeals filed by Kalu’s co-defendants, Slok Nigeria Limited and Ude Udeogu, challenging the jurisdiction of Justice Idris to continue hearing the case after he was elevated from the Federal High Court to the Court of Appeal.

Justice Garba held that contrary to the appellants’ contention, Section 396(7) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015, which empowers a high judge to continue to hear a part-heard criminal matter after being elevated to the Court of Appeal, did not offend the constitution.

The appellate court, therefore, ordered the defendants to return to the high court to put in their defence.

Last year, the EFCC had closed its case in the 12-year-old trial of the defendants after calling 19 witnesses.

But rather than put in their defence, Kalu and his co-defendants filed no-case submissions.

Before Justice Idris could hear and rule on the no-case submission he was elevated to the Court of Appeal.

READ ALSO: EFCC To Arraign Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia On 18 Count

In order to prevent the case from being transferred to another judge to start afresh, Kalu’s lawyer, Prof. Awa Kalu (SAN), activated Section 396(7) of the ACJA and applied to the Court of Appeal’s President, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, to give a fiat to Justice Idris, so that he could return to the high court to conclude the case.

As a result, Justice Idris was given a fiat to continue hearing the case, with a condition that he must conclude it by the end of September 2018.

On July 31, 2018, the judge dismissed the defendants’ no-case submissions and ordered them to open their defence.

But rather than proceed to open their defence, Kalu sought a six-week adjournment to embark on a trip to Germany to have surgery for an undisclosed ailment.

The defendants later challenged the jurisdiction of the judge to hear the case, arguing that he was no longer a judge of the high court.

They also filed an application seeking a stay of proceedings pending the outcome of their appeals. Justice Idris dismissed both.

When Kanu did not subsequently make himself available for his trial, Justice Idris revoked his bail.

The judge also ordered him to submit himself to the EFCC within 24 hours of his return to the country.

On January 23 when the case last came up in court, the prosecutor, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), complained about Kalu’s repeated absence from court, alleging that the former governor, now a senator-elect, was taking the court for a ride. The counsel also noted that despite the court’s order, Kanu did not turn himself into the EFCC.

“He (Kalu) kept on campaigning for his senatorial ambition, slapping the court in the face; his attitude is unbecoming,” Jacobs said while urging Justice Idris to continue hearing in Kalu’s absence.

But in response, Justice Idris said he could not proceed with the case as the second fiat given him by the Appeal Court President had expired in November 2018.

While adjourning the 12-year-old case indefinitely, Justice Idris held, “This matter was listed today because it was adjourned till today for defence. What has happened is that the last fiat that was issued by the President of the Court of Appeal has expired at the end of November 2018.

“On the 10th of January, 2019, I received a fresh fiat in respect of some matters that I have started and some new matters but this particular case was not mentioned.

“For this reason, I have a strong feeling that I shouldn’t continue with proceedings in this case unless there is a further directive from the President of the Court of Appeal.

“I should not proceed further, otherwise I might be acting without authority.

“In the circumstance, I am of the view that further proceedings shouldn’t go on until I receive further information by way of fresh fiat from the Court of Appeal President. As soon as I receive further instructions, hearing notice will be sent to counsel.”

Alleged N7.6bn Fraud: Court Fixes February 7 To Hear Orji Kalu’s Submissions

Orji Kalu Berates Governors Over Arbitrary Expenses

 

The Court of Appeal in Lagos has fixed February 7, 2019, to hear an appeal filed by a former Abia State Governor, Dr Orji Uzor Kalu, challenging the dismissal of his no case submission.

Justice Mohammed Idris of a Federal High Court, Lagos had in July 31, 2018, dismissed the submission by the former governor who claimed the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), made no case against him in relation to an alleged N7.6 billion illegally derived from the treasury of the Abia State Government.

Justice Idris had held that Kalu has some explanations to make particularly on certain documents tendered by the EFCC as exhibits in evidence against him.

Dissatisfied, the former governor filed a notice of appeal asking that the lower court’s verdict be overturned.

In the notice of appeal, the former governor contended that it would amount to “miscarriage of justice”, to compel him to defend a matter in which no “prima facie” case has been established against him.

Court Gives Orji Kalu Seven Days To Appear In Court

Orji Kalu Berates Governors Over Arbitrary Expenses

 

The Federal High Court in Lagos has given a former Governor of seven days to appear before it.

The High Court judge, Justice Mohammed Idris gave the order on Monday at the resumed hearing in the case in Lagos.

Kalu who was absent at the hearing is facing trial over allegations of fraud to the tune of N7.65 billion.

His lawyer, Professor Awa Kalu (SAN), told Justice Idris his client was away in Germany for a surgical operation.

He added that the ex-governor had been advised by his doctors to remain in Germany for some time to recuperate.

The defence counsel told the court that the prosecution counsel, Mr Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), was aware of the development and urged Justice Idris to further adjourn the case.

But the EFCC prosecutor, Jacobs, said he was surprised at Kalu’s absence from court, adding that he did not know if or when the ex-governor obtained the court’s permission to travel out.

Jacobs noted that having submitted his passport to the court as part of his bail conditions, Kalu must always apply to the court for the passport whenever he wished to travel.

Describing the ex-governor’s absence from court as an attempt to frustrate the case, Jacobs urged Justice Idris to interpret Kalu’s absence to mean that he had jumped bail.

The defence counsel on the other hand, urged Justice Idris to discountenance Jacob’s argument, saying as of when Kalu travelled out, the court had adjourned the case sine die (indefinitely).

Ruling on the lawyers’ submissions, Justice Idris noted that it was true that the matter was adjourned sine die on September 27, 2018, but Kalu was, on November 2, served with a hearing notice that the case had been scheduled for Monday.

The judge also noted that the court received a mail confirming Kalu’s treatment arrangement, but he said the defence counsel failed to attach any medical report to guide the court as to Kalu’s post-surgery treatment.

Justice Idris said in the circumstance, he would, in the interest of justice, adjourn the case for the last time, stressing that Kalu must return from Germany within seven days and appear before the court.

The matter was adjourned till November 12, 2018, for the continuation of the trial.

Alleged N7.65bn Fraud: Orji Kalu’s Medical Trip To Germany Stalls Trial

Alleged Fraud: Orji Kalu Files ‘No-Case Submission’ As EFCC Amends Charge
Orji Kalu

 

The trial of a former Governor of Abia, Orji Uzor Kalu, over an alleged N7.65 billion fraud was on Monday stalled due to his absence in court.

Kalu was absent in court at a Federal High Court in Lagos, due to his medical condition and a medical trip to Germany.

At the resumed trial on Monday, Kalu’s Counsel, Gordy Uche apologised to the court over the absence of the first accused. He said Kalu was currently in Germany for surgery.

Uche told the court that Kalu’s medical appointment, slated earlier for August 2, for which the court had granted permission, was unable to proceed as the accused could not get a flight to Germany on time.

The judge, Justice Mohammed Idriss, in his ruling described the conduct of the former governor as “highly irresponsible.”

Idriss said after he dismissed Kalu’s case and directed him to open his defence, the former governor begged for a six-week adjournment on the claim that he had a surgery appointment in Germany

The Judge said he doubted that Kalu had any such surgical appointment as of July 27 when he wrote to the court to seek a six-week adjournment of his trial.

He subsequently adjourned the case to September 20 and 21.

Kalu is being tried alongside his company, Slok Nigeria Limited, and Ude Udeogu, who served as Director of Finance and Account at the Abia State Government House during Kalu’s reign as governor.

In one of the counts, the EFCC alleged that Kalu, who was Abia State Governor between 1999 and 2007, “did procure Slok Nigeria Limited – a company solely owned by you and members of your family – to retain in its account, domiciled with the then Inland Bank Plc, Apapa branch, Lagos, an aggregate sum of N7,197,871,208.7 on your behalf.”

N3.2bn Corruption Trial: Witness Refuses To Testify Against Orji Kalu

Alleged N3.2bn Fraud: Judge's Absence Stalls Kalu’s Trial
File photo

A legal practitioner, Kingsley Ekwem, has declined to testify as a prosecution witness in the trial of a former Abia State Governor, Dr Orji Uzor Kalu and two others over an alleged N3.2billion fraud.

The lawyer instead asked Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court, Lagos to set aside a witness summons served on him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to testify in the matter.

Arguing an application he filed to challenge the court’s summons, the lawyer said he would not be able to testify in the matter owing to the existing relationship between his chambers and the third defendant in the case, Slok Nigeria Limited).

He also told the court that he is not a compellable witness to testify on issues that could breach the professional communication between his law firm and the third defendant.

The lawyer cited certain provisions of the Evidence Act 2011 as well the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners to buttress his point.

Counsel to the EFCC, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) however countered by arguing that the lawyers’ position was not founded on law.

He insisted that the lawyer could only raise objections to the witness summons after he had entered the witness box in obedience to the court’s order.

In his submissions on the issue, Former Governor Kalu’s lawyer, Awa Kalu urged the court to consider the relevant provisions of the Evidence Act in granting the application.

He argued that the EFCC cannot put the lawyer in the witness box because the prosecution witness through which the document was tendered as an exhibit had informed the court that it was obtained through a search warrant.

He, therefore, urged the court not to compel the applicant to testify so as to thwart what he called the EFCC’s ulterior motive of incriminating his client, Dr Orji Kalu.

Other defence lawyers aligned themselves with the submissions of Chief Awa Kalu (SAN).

Justice Mohammed Idris has fixed ruling on the application for February 1.

Court Adjourns Trial Of Ex-Abia Governor, Orji Kalu

Alleged N3.2bn Fraud: Judge's Absence Stalls Kalu’s Trial
File photo

A Federal High Court Sitting in Lagos has adjourned the trial of a former Governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu to January 22 and 23rd.

Justice Mohammed Idris adjourned the proceedings after the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) failed to produce one of its major witnesses in court.

The former governor is being tried on a 34 count charge alongside one of his aides, Udeh Udeogu and his company, Slok Nigeria Limited for allegedly diverting the sum of N2.9bn from the coffers of the Abia State Government.

They have however pleaded not guilty.

READ ALSO: EFCC Re-arraigns Former FCT Minister, Jumoke Akinjide

At the resumed proceedings of the case today, January 16, the prosecuting counsel, Mr Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), told Justice Idris that the witness in question, one M.A. Udoh had been evasive, and the anti-graft agency was having difficulty bringing him to court.

He urged the court to grant a short adjournment to enable him to locate and bring the witness, a retired employee of the Abia State Government House, Umuahia, to court to testify.

The defence counsel promptly opposed the move for an adjournment, describing it as frivolous.

They expressed disappointment at the EFCC’s request for an adjournment and indicated their readiness to continue. They also told the court that most of them had flown to Lagos from Abuja just to ensure that there was no further delay in the case that had lasted for over 10 years.

The defence then urged the court to either foreclose the prosecution’s case or in the alternative order the EFCC to bear the cost of their transportation and hotel accommodation.

But the EFCC prosecutor countered by reminding the court that the case was delayed for over 10 years at the instance of the defendants who pursued an interlocutory appeal all the way to the Supreme Court.

In his ruling, Justice Idris described the development as unfortunate.

He noted that the case had been adjourned on four different occasions at the request of the prosecution.

Though he conceded to an adjournment, the judge warned that it would be the last of its kind.

He then fixed further proceedings for January 22 and 23rd.

Orji Kalu Berates Governors Over Arbitrary Expenses

Orji Kalu Berates Governors Over Arbitrary ExpensesA former Governor of Abia state, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, has berated state Governors on arbitrary expenses incurred on purchasing exotic cars.

He urged them to rather use such funds to provide social infrastructure for state citizens.

The former Governor, stated this in Okwu community in Ikeduru local government area of Imo state, when he attended the commissioning thanksgiving service of a newly built Catholic church in the area.

According to him, as the Governor of Abia state for eight years, he never used bullet proof cars because he believed there was no reason for that.

“As the Governor of Abia state, I never used bullet proof cars. Even up till now, I am not using bullet proof cars. I made use of buses as Governor and I am still using buses up till now.

“I don’t believe anybody can kill me except God. Instead of spending huge money in buying expensive bullet proof cars, Governors should use the money to provide electricity and other basic social amenities for their people”.

The former Governor of Imo State, Chief Ikedi Ohakim, also present, called on all Nigerians irrespective of their party, ethnic or religious affiliation, to support the President Buhari-led government, stating that if the President fails, then the whole Nigerians have failed.

Also, the Catholic Archbishop of Owerri Catholic archdiocese, Anthony Obinna, expressed concern over the killing of Christians in southern Kaduna, stating that it is a war orchestrated to wipe out Christians in the country.

The clergyman then raised an alarm that if the crisis is not well managed, it can degenerate into a serious National challenges which would spread to every nook and cranny of the country.

He then tasked the President to quickly ensure that those involved in the dastardly act are brought to face the full wrath of the law.

EFCC Re-Arraigns Former Governor Orji Kalu In Lagos

EFCC, Orji KaluA former Governor of Abia state, Mr Orji Kalu, has been docked at the Federal High Court in Lagos, answering alleged corruption charges by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

It is, however, not clear what specific charges the former governor is facing at the Lagos court.

He had been previously arraigned before the Federal High Court, along with two other people.

They were in that instance accused of diverting about 3.2 billion Naira from the Abia government’s treasury.

The court adjourned the case till December 6, 2016 for commencement of trial.

In March, the Supreme Court had ruled that the EFCC could prosecute the former Abia Governor, ruling that the anti-graft agency had established prime-facie cases against the defendant.

The former governor was accused of laundering and illegal diversion of public funds of about 5.6 billion Naira.

Mr Kalu was said to have perpetuated the fraud between 1999 and 2007 while he was the Governor of Abia State.

 

Uzor Kalu Lauds Government’s Strategy To Check Economic Recession

Orji Kalu on Nigeria's EconomyA former governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu, has hailed the move by the Federal Government to gather more brains and put policy in place to address the economic recession.

He made his opinion known in Umuahia on Friday while addressing reporters.

Mr Kalu also told reporters that the economic recession started in 2014 but was surprised that Nigerians were not keen to comprehend that it was time to diversify the economy.

According to him, no economy could survive by borrowing to offset its demand without a requisite balance to inject into the economy.

The former Abia State governor further called for policy on the manufacturing sector that would enable Nigeria produce more for export.

Mr Kalu also hinted that more money was needed to bring the nation out of its predicament, stressing the need for Nigerians to tighten their belts, since stabilising the economy would involve a gradual process.

Nigeria’s economic recession became official after a report of the National Bureau of Statistics showed that the nation’s Gross Domestic Product contracted by 2.06% in the second quarter of 2016.

According to the report, the decline has caused the Naira to get weaker while lower oil prices dragged the oil sector down.

The output shrunk by 0.36 in the first quarter.

During the quarter, nominal GDP was 2.73% higher at 23.48 million Naira at basic prices.

This growth was lower than the rate recorded in the second quarter of 2015 by 2.44% points.

Dangote, Adenuga, Others Make Forbes List

DangotePresident of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, has maintained his number one position as Africa’s richest man for a fifth year in a row by Forbes magazine.

Dangote leads with a net worth of 16.7 billion dollars and that is after losing nearly 5 billion dollars in one year, owing to a drop in the stock price of Dangote Cement and a pressured naira.

Others on the list are Chairman of Globacom, Mike Adenuga, who came in seventh position. Business woman and the only female from Nigeria on the list, Mrs Folorunsho Alakija, came in at 13th while Forte Oil Chairman, Femi Otedola was 16th.

Also, Founder of Bua Group, Abdulsamad Rabiu is 23rd, while former Defence Minister, Theophilus Danjuma is number 30 and Chairman of Heirs Holdings, Tony Elumelu came in at 31.

Other Nigerians on the list are Jim Ovia, Mohammed Indimi and Orji Uzor Kalu who took the 37th, 39th and 49th spot respectively.

Nigerians who dropped off the list are Chairman of Etisalat Nigeria, Hakeem Bello Osagie, CEO of Yinka Folawiyo Group, Tunde Folawiyo, and Oba Otudeko of Honeywell Group.

Forbes compiles the list by calculating net worth using stock prices, currency exchange rates, estimates of revenues or profits with prevailing price-to-sales or price-to-earnings ratios for similar public companies.