Kalu, Slok have no link to 27 bank drafts – Witness


Onovah Oghenevoh, the first prosecution witness in the ongoing trial of former Abia State governor, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu and two others before the Federal High Court, Lagos, over alleged fraud, yesterday, said none of the defendants had link to the fund withdrawn from Abia State Government House account.

Kalu, Slok have no link to 27 bank drafts –Witness
Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu

Oghenevoh, who was led in evidence by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)’s counsel, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), admitted under cross examination that neither Kalu, Udeh Jones Udeogu nor Slok Nigeria Limited had any involvement in the 27 bank drafts raised through the account of Abia State Government House and issued by the defunct Manny Bank Plc.

The witness also told Justice Mohammed Idris that no payment was made to the former governor from government house account between 2002 and 2005.

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Oghenevoh was cross-examined by Kalu’s lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), and the two other defendants’ counsels, Solo Akuma (SAN) and KC Nwofo (SAN), respectively, over a document containing information about 38 bank drafts issued by the Umuahia branch of the defunct Manny Bank Plc within the period.

Emphatically, Ogonevoh said no draft was either paid by Kalu or issued in his name.

ALSO READ:   Anambra lawyers drag IPOB to AGF over election boycott order

“There was nowhere in the documents where the names of Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu and Slok Nigeria Limited were mentioned as those who gave instructions on the drafts.

“Between 2002 and 2005, I was in Corporate Audit Department of FSB International Bank; I was not working with Manny Bank in Umuahia at the time. I never, at any point in time, worked with the bank.

“The Government House account was domiciled in Umuahia, and I never, at any point in time, worked under Abia State Government or Orji Uzor Kalu’s administration. The account was specifically managed by an account officer, and I never, at any point in time, personally handled transactions of government house account.”

The witness said all of the drafts were purchased across the counter except two, which were by cash. He added that the purpose for which the drafts were purchased was not known.

He listed four individuals who, he said, gave instructions on the drafts. They are Romanus Magu, Imaga Okoro, Jones Udeogu and Micheal Udoh.

However, on a further scrutiny of the document, the witness admitted, while being cross-examined by the lawyer to the second defendant, Akuma (SAN), that there were other people who requested for drafts apart from the four names he mentioned, and that only Michael Udoh was found out to be a staff of Government House, Umuahia.

ALSO READ:   Aba Residents Bemoans High Cost Of Accomodation

He also said he did not know the contractual relationship that existed between those who applied for the drafts and those in whose names they were drawn.

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

While being cross-examined by lawyer to the third defendant, Nwofo (SAN), the witness said none of the drafts were issued, personally, by him and that Slok Nigeria Limited was also not involved in the issuance of the drafts.

The second prosecution witness, Christiana Ohiri had already started giving her evidence when the defence notified the court that her name was not included in the prosecution’s list of witnesses.

The witness, who is a branch manager at the United Bank for Africa (UBA), Umuahia Branch, told the court how the branch was contacted by the bank’s head office towards the end of October 2006, requesting some documents for some transactions that were done earlier in the year.

“Some of the transactions were listed and we retrieved others from our archives and sent to Lagos. I did not know what the head office wanted to do with the documents.

ALSO READ:   Buhari may reverse Naira Devaluation

“By 2007, I was invited by EFCC and certain questions were asked about the documents the bank sent to the commission.

“There were a couple of accounts we were maintaining for Abia State. These included Abia State Board of Internal Revenue Account, Abia State Judiciary and Government House, Umuahia,” the witness said. EFCC lawyer, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) later sought to tender the bank’s response to EFCC’s request and the statement of account of Government House, Umuahia, as exhibits.

But, the defence counsel objected to the admissibility of the statement of account on the ground that it failed to meet up with the provisions of Section 84(b) of the Evidence Act regarding certification. Kalu’s lawyer, Ozekhome (SAN) equally raised objection to the appearance of the second prosecution witness in court on the ground that her name was not included in the list of witnesses.

He described the witness as a ‘busy body and meddlesome interloper’. The court adjourned till today for ruling on the objection raised by the defence to the admissibility of the statement of account of Government House, Umuahia.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here