I’m not a thief – Orji Kalu cries as he recalled prison ordeal

Kalu pleaded his innocence while making his valedictory speech at the Senate.

Senator Orji Uzor Kalu failed to fight back tears as he recalled the ordeal that landed him in prison for some months.

The former Abia State Governor betrayed emotion while making a speech during the valedictory session of the 9th Senate on Saturday, June 10, 2023.

In December 2019, a Federal High Court in Lagos convicted Kalu for the fraud he committed while he was governing Abia State between 1999 and 2007, and sentenced him to 12 years imprisonment accordingly.

However, the Senate Chief Whip only spent six months in the Correctional Facility before he was let off the hook following a Supreme Court judgement which nullified his conviction on the grounds that the trial judge lacked jurisdiction.

The apex court ruled that Justice Idris Mohammed, who sentenced Kalu, had been promoted to the Court of Appeal at the time of the case, and ought to have recused himself from the matter as a result.

Although the Supreme Court told the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to begin his prosecution from scratch, no fresh charges have been preferred against him since 2020.

Speaking during the valedictory session on Saturday, the former Abia State Governor insisted that he’s not a thief, alleging that some people had framed him up for the crime.

He thanked his senator colleagues for standing by him throughout his six months stay at the correctional centre, adding that coming to the Red Chamber has helped him to appreciate more the diversity and unity of the country.

While pleading his innocence, Kalu said he’s been unfairly treated by Nigeria despite his contributions to the economy through the creation of 13 thousand jobs.

He said, “Before I came into politics, I could buy anything money can buy. I’m not a thief. I have businesses scattered across the country. People who could not explain their source of wealth are walking freely.

“Those that put me in prison know the reason. They took over my businesses and wanted to kill me yet I survived it and I’m in the Senate with you.

“I have never lacked, while I was in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) where I served for two terms as governor, I brought the money that they used in forming that party, every penny, in 1997 and 1998, and I later became a thief.

“People I gave transport money from my house in VI (in Lagos) became agents. This is what Nigeria represents. Thank you for giving me these four years of uninterrupted support.

“This country is not fair.”

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