In a revelation made by Mr. Romanus Madu, according to Sahara Reporters a cashier to Mr. Orji Uzor Kalu as Governor of Abia State, on Monday testified in Court that fictitious names were used to request and divert several millions of naira from Government House accounts in 2005.
Mr. Madu was testifying today at the resumed trial of Mr. Kalu at the Federal High Court in Lagos for an alleged N2.9bn fraud.
Mr. Madu, who is now a Permanent Secretary in the same government, said that his name was also used to raise some bank drafts, and his signature forged on some other bank documents.
He explained that as then cashier of Government House, his duty entailed releasing impress funds for weekly maintenance works at the property, adding that he carried out his duties under the instruction of the then Director of Finance, Jones Udeogu.
Prosecutor Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), tendered several documents issued to apply for bank drafts, with Mr. Madu denying knowledge of two requests for bank drafts in the sums of N31m and N39m, although they had his name.
The documents showed that sums raised in such circumstances as follows:
August 2, 2005: sums of N26m and N15m;
June 3, 2005: N19.5m and 21.3m; and
July 7, 2005: N21.3m.
The prosecutor also showed Mr. Madu several bank drafts raised in the names of Onigwe Ozoh, Obasi John, and Ogbonna J.
Mr. Madu testified: “When they showed me these things at the EFCC office, I told them I was not the person who wrote them. It’s not my handwriting; my signature is not even there. I don’t know anything about bank drafts. I normally collected cash and [handed] over to my boss.”
He affirmed he did not know any persons at the State Government House Account Department by the names of Onigwe Ozoh, Obasi John and Ogbonna J., whose names appeared on the requests for the sums of N19m, N22m, N31m and N30.8m sometime in 2005.
However, when Jacobs asked Madu to compare the handwriting in the different requests, defense counsels Awa Kalu (SAN) and K.C. Nwofor (SAN), objected, saying Mr. Madu was not an expert witness and lacked the competence to make such a comparison.
Mr. Kalu defected to the ruling APC a few months ago in a move interpreted by analysts as being aimed to influence the trial. He was welcomed into the party by John Odigie-Oyegun, its National Chairman.
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