A former Abia State Governor, Orji Uzor Kalu, was on Monday arraigned before a Federal High Court in Lagos on alleged money laundering charges.
Also arraigned alongside the former governor is one Mr. Udeh Jones Udeogu and a company, Slok Nigeria Limited.
Kalu, who was Abia State Governor from 1999 to 2007, was earlier arraigned before a Federal High Court in Abuja on the same charge.
In a 34-counts amended charge, the Economic and Financial Crime Commission ((EFCC) alleged that Kalu and his co-accused persons had between August 7, 2001, and December 2005, while he was the Governor of Abia State, used the said money to procure Slok Nigeria Limited.
The anti-graft agency also alleged that the accused persons and one Emeka Abone, said to be at large, between May 2002 and December 2005, conspired among themselves to launder fund illegally derived from the Treasury of Abia State government.
The EFCC also alleged that the accused persons aggregated several millions of naira amounting to N3.2 billion, property of Abia State government, knowing that the said amount formed parts of funds stolen from the Treasury of the state.
The accused persons were alleged to have used Manny Bank, now Fidelity Bank Plc, Spring Bank Plc, the defunct Standard Trust Bank and Fin Land Bank, now First City Monument Bank (FCMB) to laundered the said money
In counts one to 10, Uzor Kalu was alleged to have between August 13, 2003 and August 10, 2005, while he was the Abia State Governor, procured Slok Nigeria Limited, the company solely belongs to him and his family members, retained in his account domiciled with the Apapa branch of First Inland Bank Plc, the total sum of N2. 502, 600 billion, which formed parts of funds Illegally derived from the treasury of Abia State government, through Manny Bank (now Fidelity Bank Plc), which were converted into several bank drafts before they were paid into the account of Slok Nigeria Limited.
EFCC prosecutor, Adeniyi Adebisi said the offences are contrary to sections 17(c) 16, 14(1)(b)17(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2003
He also said that the offences contravened sections 427 of the Criminal Code Act Cap. 77, Laws of the Federation, 1990, and punishable under section 16 of the same Act.
The former Governor, who was accompanied to the court by his supporters who trooped to the court in their numbers, however pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The two other accused persons also pleaded not guilty.
Upon the plea of the accused persons, their lawyers, Chief Mike Ozekhome and Solo Akuma all Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs), urged the court to allow their clients to continue with the bail term earlier granted them.
Ezekhome (SAN), informed the court that their clients have earlier been arraigned before an Abuja Federal High Court, before they were re-arraigned again.
The prosecutor, Mr. Adeniyi, did not opposed the submission of lawyers to the accused persons.
Consequently, the presiding judge, Justice Mohammed Idris, granted the request of the counsel to the accused persons that they should continue with the former bail conditions.
He adjourned the trial of the accused persons till December 12 and 13, 2016.