Former governor of Abia state and current senator, Orji Uzor Kalu, was sentenced to 12 years of imprisonment by the court of Justice Mohammed Idris today. I have read the sentencing (as a layman) and was confused as to why the Federal Government of Nigeria should be the beneficiary of the Slok Nigeria Limited which according to the Guardian, the court “ordered forfeiture of all assets of his company to the federal government.” Mr. Kalu did not steal Nigeria’s money. It was Abians’ money; so, the court cannot magically award the assets to the Federal Government when Abia State Government is still there.
The federal high court in Lagos has sentenced the former governor of Abia State Senator Orji Uzor Kalu to 12 years imprisonment after being found guilty on all the 39-count charges brought against him.
He was convicted of N7.65billion fraud perpetuated when he was Abia State governor between 1999 and 2007.
Kalu was convicted alongside his firm, Slok Nigeria Limited and his former Abia State director of finance, Ude Udeogu. The court also ordered forfeiture of all assets of his company to the federal government.
But I am not a lawyer to know if states cannot be beneficiaries of such assets when cases are tried in federal courts. Or possibly, the federal government would receive the assets and handover them to Abia state government. But why go through that process when the court can replace “federal government” with “Abia state government” in the sentencing.
The Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice of Abia State should petition the court immediately to ensure the assets are given to Abia State and not federal government. The stolen assets did not belong to the federal government, and accordingly Nigeria should not be the beneficiary. Abia State clearly should get the assets because the ex-governor was convicted for defrauding the good people of Abia.
Yet, I am not a lawyer to understand how assets forfeiture processes work in federal courts. But that does not mean that I cannot voice my opinion though!