Reality dawned on Orji Uzor Kalu, former governor of Abia state, on Thursday that he was not going to sleep at his home after his conviction for money laundering by a federal high court in Lagos.
After the judge pronounced the 12-year jail sentence and warders moved towards him with handcuffs, the senate chief whip had to resort to diplomacy
“Where are you taking us to now? Please don’t handcuff me. I will follow you,” he said.
He had just been convicted for a N7.1 billion fraud by Mohammad Idris, the presiding judge, who also ordered that Kalu’s company, Slok Nigeria Limited, be liquidated and its assets forfeited to the federal government.
Kalu stood trial on a 39-count charge brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The senator, Slok Nigeria Limited, and Udeh Udeogu, a former director of finance and accounts in Abia were accused of diverting N7.65 billion from the purse of the state government.
He is also accused of illegally taking N460 million from Abia’s treasury.
Kalu had won his senatorial bid to represent Abia-north after he polled 31,203 votes to defeat Mao Ohuabunwa of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and an incumbent senator who scored 20,801 votes.
In September, the national assembly petitions tribunal sitting in the state sacked him from the senate.