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AFP
December 6, 2019

Nigeria jails ex-governor for fraud

World

AFP
December 6, 2019

LAGOS: A Nigerian former state governor and serving senator was found guilty of fraud on Thursday and sentenced to 12 years in prison in a boost to President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-graft crusade.

Orji Uzor Kalu was convicted in Lagos of misappropriating 7.2 billion naira ($20.06 million, 18.08 million euros) when he served as two-term governor of southeastern Abia state between 1999 and 2007.

Judge Mohammed Idris also ordered that Kalu’s airline Slot, which he used to launder the funds, be forfeited to the Nigerian government.

Describing the former governor’s offences as "crime against humanity", the judge also sentenced his former finance director to five years for his complicity in the fraud.

The long-running case began in 2007 shortly after Kalu left office, but the trial had been bogged down by legal technicalities questioned by defence lawyers.

Kalu who looked visibly shocked by the ruling, was immediately driven to prison.

It was not immediately clear if he would appeal the sentence.

Kalu, a former governor from the main opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP), joined Buhari’s ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) last year and contested and won a senatorial seat in February.

His sentence was the latest in a series of high-profile convictions by Buhari’s administration in recent months.

Last year, two former governors -- Joshua Dariye of central Plateau state and Jolly Nyame of Taraba state -- were jailed 14 years for looting millions of dollars in state funds while serving in office.