A former Director of Finance in the Abia State Government House, Mr. Jones Udeogu, on Thursday told a Federal High Court in Lagos, Southwest Nigeria that he is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over alleged money laundering because he turned down the anti-graft agency’s request to testify against his former boss, ex-Governor Orji Uzor Kalu.
He told the court in continuation of his defence against the allegation.
Udeogu is currently standing trial alongside Kalu and a limited liability company, Slok Nigeria Ltd on a 39-count charge of alleged laundering of N7.2 billion
Udeogu alleged he ran into troubled after he refused to stand as a prosecution witness to testify against Dr Kalu.
He said: “I was asked to be a prosecution witness and I turned it down. That is why I am being prosecuted. It is because I don’t want to cooperate with EFCC to prosecute the former Governor of Abia state.”
Under cross Examination, EFCC’s lawyer, Rotimi Jacobs SAN while denying Udeogu’s claims said the agency was at liberty to decide who it would use as a prosecution witness.
In continuation of the trial, a banking and financial consultant, Emmanuel Ahunanya, also testified to prove Udeogu’s innocence.
The witness told the court that he went into private practice in banking and finance after spending 18 years with the defunct ACB.
He was questioned extensively on general banking practice by Udeogu’s lawyer, Chief Solo Akuma (SAN).
Slok Nigeria Ltd Company had to close its case following the judge’s refusal to grant an adjournment.
Slok’s lawyer, Mr. K. C. Nwofo (SAN) had pleaded with the judge to grant him a short adjournment to enable him bring in his witness.
However, in turning down the request, Justice Idris Mohammed said he was constrained from doing so because the hearing of the case was time bound.
Thereafter, justice Idris gave the prosecution and the defence lawyers 21 days each to file their written addresses.
The matter was subsequently adjourned to 22nd October, 2019, for parties to adopt their written addresses.
Kalu had in his evidence before the court denied allegations that he stole N7.2 billion while at the helm of affairs of Abia State between 1999 and 2007.
He said that Abia State under him had no such fund.