Alleged N3.2bn Fraud: Court rejects Orji Kalu’s invitation to fault EFCC’s style of prosecution

EFCC

A federal high court sitting in Abuja on Tuesday turned down an invitation by former governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu to declare a star witness of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as incompetent to testify in the case.

The commission had re-arraigned Kalu, Udeh Udeogu and Slok Nigeria Limited at the Federal High Court in Lagos on 34 count- charge of laundering N3.2billion, to which they pleaded not guilty.

Defence counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN) and Chief Solo Akuma (SAN), on Monday insisted that the statement of the first witness, a banker, Mr. Onovoe Oghenovo, was not frontloaded.

Justice Mohammed Idris subsequently overruled the objection on Tuesday.

He agreed with the prosecution that the witness having been subpoenaed should be allowed to testify whether his statement was frontloaded or not.

The judge, however, directed the prosecution to serve the defence with the statements of other witnesses.

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EFCC’s lawyer, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), during examination-in-chief of the first prosecution witness, Onovah Ogonevoh, sought to tender a document from the defunct Manny Bank Plc in response to an enquiry from the commission over the 27 bank drafts issued by the bank’s Umuahia branch.

The bank, in its response dated October 13, 2006, had attached the customer’s name, the account number and copies of the bank drafts to a cover letter.

Ozhekome said the letter’s certification by the EFCC was erroneous.

“It is legally untenable for the commission to certify a document which originally was in possession of the bank. The bank is in a better position to certify the document,” he said.