Orji Uzor Kalu, chief whip of the senate, was tearful at the valedictory session of the ninth senate on Saturday as he declared that — “I am not a thief”.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had arraigned the former Abia governor and Ude Jones Udeogu, a former director of finance and accountant in the state, on 36 counts of money laundering to the tune of N7.1 billion.
On December 5, 2019, Kalu was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment while Udeogu got a 10-year sentence.
The supreme court later nullified the trial of Kalu and his co-convict.
The apex court held that Mohammed Idris, the trial judge who had been elevated to the court of appeal at the time of the case, ought not to have presided over the matter while he was an appeal court judge.
No fresh charges have been preferred against him.
Kalu said before he ventured into politics, he was wealthy and played a critical role financially in the formation of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
“Before I came into politics, I could buy anything money can buy. I’m not a thief,” he said in tears.
“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 became agents. This is what Nigeria represents. Thank you for giving me these four years of uninterrupted support.
This country is not fair.”