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Defecting to the APC without a deal, Mixing personal life


After a 12-year legal struggle, former governor of Abia state and Senate Chief Whip, Orji Uzor Kalu,

After a 12-year legal struggle, former governor of Abia state and Senate Chief Whip, Orji Uzor Kalu,

After a 12-year legal struggle, former governor of Abia state and Senate Chief Whip, Orji Uzor Kalu, was on Thursday, December 5, convicted of N7.65bn fraud abs was subsequently sentenced to 12 years in prison by Justice Muhammed Idris of the Federal High Court in Lagos.

Kalu, who is a serving senator of the All Progressives Congress (APC) representing Abia North senatorial district has been facing trial since July 2007 after he was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for allegedly carting away billions of naira while he served as Abia state governor, using the account of his personal company, Slok Nigeria Limited.

Following the surprising conviction of Orji Kalu, highlights three costly mistakes that may have led to the current ordeal of the former governor.

  1. Merging family business with government business
    One of the errors Kalu made which later came back to haunt him was that during his tenure as governor of Abia state between 1999 and 2007, he involved a family company in government business. During his sentence on Thursday, December 5, the Federal High Court in Lagos found the former governor guilty of using his company, Slok Nigeria Limited to divert the sum of N7.65 billion from the coffers of the state.

This was a gross mistake by Kalu who should have known that the proper thing for government officials to do is to avoid conflicts of interest by separating their official duties from their companies or private businesses. This principle of avoiding conflicts of interests ensures that government money is not used to operate the private company of any government official. Maybe Kalu would not have been convicted for fraud if he had adhered to this important principle.

  1. Accused of dipping hands into the Abia state treasury
    In an amended 39 count charge, the EFCC had accused Kalu and Udeh Udeogu, a former director of finance and accounts in Abia of illegally taking N460 million from Abia’s treasury. If the politician was found guilty of this charge then it was likely another mistake that worked against him.

What many people fail to understand is that money often leaves behind a trail of records, especially when moved in large quantities. That is why many government officials often hide under the guise of awarding bogus contracts to embezzle money so that when traced they can claim the money was used for a legitimate purpose.

  1. Defecting from the PDP to the APC without a deal
    As one of the founding members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the southeast zone, it came as a surprise when Orji Uzor Kalu suddenly defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2016. But the politician who was standing trial for alleged corruption at the time might have made a political error by defecting to the APC without any leverage.

Probably, if Kalu had made a deal with the ruling party to get his trial dropped with a promise to help the APC gather support in the southeast his current travails might never have occurs

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