The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), yesterday,marked properties belonging to former Abia State governor, Orji Uzor Kalu.This is to ensure that the properties are not dissipated, following the December 5, 2019 order of Justice Muhammed Idris, sitting at the Ikoyi Federal High Court, that Kalu’s company, Slok Nigeria Limited, be wound up and all assets forfeited to the Federal Government.
Kalu, a Senator representing Abia North in the National Assembly,was arraigned alongside Slok Nigeria Limited and Udeh Udeogu, his former Director of Finance and Accounts in the state, over an amended 39-count charge bordering on conspiring and
diverting the sum of N7.65bn from the state’s coffers.
The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges, thereby leading to their full trial. Meanwhile, the management of the Sun Publishing Limited, yesterday, reacted to a visit by EFCC officials to its corporate headquarters in Kirikiri, Lagos, describing it as unwarranted.
A statement signed by the publishing house read in part: “Three officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), with four heavily armed policemen on Saturday, December 14, 2019 at about 10.00 am arrived the corporate headquarters of The Sun Publishing Limited at 2, Coscharis Street, Kirikiri Industrial Layout, Apapa, Lagos and put up a notice for staff and the general public to keep off the premises.
“The EFCC officials, who came in a white Toyota bus with registration number ABUJA BWR-644GA, wrote on The Sun’s fence, “EFCC, keep off.” They also advised our staff to collect their personal belongings from the office, as they will come back to seal the premises completely.
“We do not understand the legal basis for this EFCC action. It is on record that there is a pending appeal at the Supreme Court with Suit No: SC/546/2018, wherein The Sun Publishing Limited appealed against the judgment delivered by the Court of Appeal on the interim forfeiture order made against it by a Federal High Court in 2007, based on ex-parte proceeding. The Notice of Appeal and Motion for Stay of Execution were duly served on EFCC by the bailiffs of the Court.
“It is also pertinent to state that EFCC, vide a letter written by Counsel to The Sun Publishing Limited, dated 22nd May, 2018 and duly received by one Caleb Peter on behalf of Rotimi Jacobs & Co. was further put on notice of the pending appeal at the Supreme Court and advised to stay action in the matter, pending the hearing of the Motion for Stay of execution and the appeal.
“Again, it is instructive to state that The Sun Publishing Limited was not a party to the case of EFCC vs. Orji Uzor Kalu & 2 Others. So, we do not see why the judgment in that case should lead to attempt to seal The Sun Publishing Limited premises…”