Another twist to President Muhammadu Buhari’s war on corruption came to the limelight after a former governor accused of absconding amidst his ongoing fraud trial has been seen attending a rally of Nigeria’s ruling party.
Orji Kalu joined other politicians of the All Progressives Congress in Umuahia to stomp for the party’s candidates ahead of the general elections next month.
The appearance comes amidst pronouncements by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) that the former governor was wanted after departing Nigeria for Germany on purported health grounds in November 2018.
The N7.7 billion trial had remained stalled ever since, although the court fixed a
Mr Kalu left office as governor of Abia State in Nigeria’s South-east in May 2007 and has faced allegations he squandered state resources during his reign.
After several judicial manoeuvres which critics said were designed to frustrate his prosecution, the EFCC ultimately reactivated Mr Kalu’s case last year, filling amended graft charges of up to N7.7 billion against him.
At the resumed hearing at the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court on November 5, 2018, the EFCC expressed shock that Mr Kalu had departed the country despite seizing his travel documents.
The former governor’s lawyers said he travelled to recuperate in Germany following a surgical operation.
The judge scolded Mr Kalu for departing the country without due notice to the court and gave him seven days to return to the country for his trial.
Although the matter was subsequently adjourned till November 12, 2018, Mr Kalu failed to show up. He has been reportedly sighted at different parts of the country by those who know him.