I Never Stole Abia State’s N7.2bn, Says Kalu


A former Abia State Governor, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, yesterday said he never stole N7.2 billion while at the helm between 1999 and 2007.

He stated this during his tenure, Abia State had no such fund.

Kalu made the denial while continuing his testimony before Justice Mohammed Idris of a Federal High Court in Lagos to prove his innocence of the allegation level against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The former governor, while responding to a question from his lawyer, Prof. Awa Kalu (SAN) during examination-in-chief said that there was no way he could have stolen what was not in existence.

“Abia State didn’t have such amount. Even the day I was leaving, we borrowed money to pay salaries. Abia State didn’t have even a billion naira in any account at the time I was governor”, he said.

To back up his denial of the allegations, the former governor, who is currently the Chief Whip of the Senate, emphasised the difficulties he encountered in running the state with federal government allocations.

He said: “The monthly allocation of Abia State when I took over in June 1999 was N168 million. It was averaging between N168 million and N172 million monthly. The first month that I came in, there was even no money to buy diesel. I spent my own money to run the state for six months.

“In the year 2000, monthly allocation was between N170 million and N189 million. In 2001, it came to about N302 million to about N380 million. I can recollect in 2002, it was almost the same and in 2003 when the revenue allocation was changed, we were having about N400 million.

“The highest money I got as governor came from 2004 when we had about N1 billion and from that time up till May 2007 before I left, what we had was N1.6 billion.

“Throughout my stay in office, I never owed salary and pension. When I took over as governor and before I left, we moved it up to N500 million. It was from this that we were able to do a lot of things”.

Kalu had earlier in his evidence told the court that he has been a successful businessman before venturing into politics.

Speaking on his line of businesses before he began his political journey, he said: “I was running a group of companies under Slok Nigeria Ltd and I have a big furniture factory in Maiduguri. I was also trading in cows. The cows were coming from Chad to Umuahia. I also had a veritable oil factory in Aba supplying to people in Kano and Maiduguri.

“I was also into shipping activities with major oil companies. We also have a very big corn farm in the East and Bauchi.
“We were a major shareholder before another shareholder bought off First Bank. In 1994, the then Hallmark Bank had a problem and I later bought majority stake in the bank. We also had major interests in Banks in DRC, Gambia, Sieria-leone, Liberia and the then Sudan before crisis set in”.



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