Key witness in Kalu’s trial flees to Cameroon – EFCC

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The Federal High Court in Lagos Tuesday heard that an accountant in the Abia Government House, Mr. Akpan Udoh, who was summoned to testify in the trial of former Governor Dr Orji Uzor Kalu, has allegedly relocated to Cameroon.

An EFCC operative, Ovie Tobore Akpoyibo, of the commission’s Port Harcourt Office, while testifying as the 13th prosecution witness, had said on Monday that effort to serve the summons on Udoh, a former cashier at the Abia State Government House, was unsuccessful.

Yesterday, the witness said EFCC operatives were able to reach Udoh’s brother who claimed that he had relocated to Cameroon.

“Further efforts to get his call logs from his service provider showed that he has been hovering between Cameroon, Republic of Benin and Katsina State,” Akpoyibo said.

Under cross examination by defence counsel Mr Awa Kalu (SAN), the witness said he did not know if Udoh was still alive, and had never met him.

During re-examination by prosecuting counsel Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), the witness said Udoh had deliberately evaded the summons and that he had earlier cooperated with the commission before they lost contact with him.

He said: “Prior to the time we went to his house to serve court summons on him, there was a phone conversation with him in which he was duly informed of the court’s summons, but shortly after the conversation he switched off the phone.

“However, when I visited his house, he had evacuated all his family. This made the commission to contact the service provider in order to monitor hs movement.

“We discovered he was in Cameroon and thereafter went to Benin Republic. The action impliedly can be termed as running away from been served with court’s summons.”

EFCC also called its 14th witness, Emojevwe Eboh, a compliance officer at the First City Monument Bank (FCMB).

Eboh told the court that sometimes in February 2008, the EFCC requested for the account opening package of a firm known as General Ventures International Limited.

He said the documents were later forwarded to the anti-graft agency. They were admitted as exhibits by the judge.

The witness said Kalu and Mr Godwin Akubuike were the shareholders and directors of General Ventures Nigeria. He listed 40 local cheques credited into the company’s account.

The commission re-arraigned Kalu, Udeh Udeogu and Slok Nigeria Limited on 34 counts of laundering N3.2billion, to which they pleaded not guilty.

EFCC said the defendants allegedly diverted about N3.2billion from the Abia’s treasury while Kalu was the governor.

The prosecution said Slok “knew or at least suspected the said Orji Uzor Kalu to have engaged in a criminal conduct.”

Justice Mohammed Idris adjourned until March 28 and March 29.

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