Orji was in charge of Government House account, witness tells court
Former Director of Finance, Abia State Government House, Mr. Jones Udeogu, yesterday told a Federal High Court, Lagos, that it was only Chief Theodore Orji, who was Chief of Staff to former Governor Orji Uzor Kalu that determined the expenditure of Government House account.Udeogu is the co-accused in the trial of Kalu in an alleged N7.2 billion fraud charge levelled against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Also charged with them is a company, Slok Nigeria Limited, which belongs to the former governor, now a senator.Udeogu, disclosed this yesterday while being led-in-evidence by his counsel, Chief Solo Akuma (SAN), at the Federal High Court, Lagos, presided by Justice Mohammed Idris.In his defence, the accused said based on civil service rules, he had no direct contact with the former governor or take orders from him but from his Chief of Staff, who also managed Government House funds.
“According to Civil Service Rules, nobody can bypass the Chief of Staff to see or take orders from the governor. All the directors take orders from the Chief of Staff, unit heads take orders from their various directors and it is only the Chief of Staff that can give approval for who gets what from the Government House bank accounts.
“My duty then was just to work out release of funds in any form either by cash or cheque from the accounts,” he said.He added that all disbursements of funds in Abia State Government House were made pursuant to the approval of the Chief of Staff. Udeogu also denied partaking in payment of any money to the account of the third defendant (Slok Nigeria Ltd).
“I did not partake in the payment of funds to the account of Slok Nigeria Ltd as alleged in count 34-38. I am also not a signatory to the account of Slok Nigeria Ltd. “Neither me nor any other member of staff of Government House paid any money into Slok account. We also did not receive any board resolution from Slok requesting for any money to be paid into Slok account,” he said. Further hearing in the matter continues today.
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