18 February, 2013
The Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL) strongly calls on the Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde and the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, to review all the pending corruption cases since 2006 and intensify effort at prosecuting them.
Recalling the activities of EFCC under its pioneer Chairman, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, who during his tenure before the present lukewarm attitude of the commission towards corruption crusade, did his best, and for first time in the annals of Nigeria history successfully aided and abetted the prosecution and eventual impeachment of two former governors, Dieprieye Alamieyeseigha and Joshua Dariye of Bayelsa and Plateau States respectively.
Equally, in like manner, the former EFFC Chairman prosecuted and secured the conviction of former Inspector General of Police Mr. Tafa Balogun, who pleaded guilty to eight counts of money laundering charges to the tune of N16bn in 2005 and was sentenced to six months imprisonment by Justice Binta Nyako.
After Tafa’s conviction, Ribadu told the National Assembly at a plenary session of the Senate in 2006 that former governor of Abia State Orji Uzor Kalu was number one on EFCC list with one of the biggest established cases of stealing, money laundering, diversion of funds but due to the immunity clause that shields serving governors from prosecution, Uzor Kalu was one of the governors swooped on by the EFCC immediately after he left office in 2007.
Specifically on 27 July 2007, Kalu was arraigned before an Abuja High Court on a 107-count charge of money laundering, official corruption and criminal diversion of public funds in excess of N5billion. The agency accused Kalu of transferring billions of naira belonging to the Abia State government to Slok Airlines, laundered funds over a period of time from the defunct Manny bank (now part of Fidelity bank) to Sloks account in Inland bank and in between 1999-2007, Uzor Kalu moved various sums of government money into Slok investment, Slok Nigerian Limited, Slok incorporated and other companies by him.
However, after Uzor Kalu pleaded not guilty to the charges and his counsel asked the court for bail, the court presided over by Justice Binta Muritala Nyako ordered Kalu detention at Kuje prison in Abuja even as she fixed the date for the argument for bail and he had three of his former colleagues for company and they are: Reverend Jolly Nyame, Joshua Chibi Dariye and Saminu Turaki, former governors of Taraba, Plateau and Jigawa States respectively but Kalu regained his freedom four days later.
During his trial, the EFCC obtained a court order to freeze Kalu’s key assets which would be handed over to Abia State government if he was unable to prove that the funds used to establish his companies were not proceeds of graft but five years after, with the charges still hanging around his neck while the former governor is touting himself as a possible candidate in the reset presidential election in 2015 and more ironically Kalu in an interview sometimes last year announced his plan to establish a – non-governmental organization devoted to the fight against corruption.