Ruling on the trial of a former governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu, and Commissioner for Finance under him, Ude Udeogo, has been adjourned until December 5, 2019 by the court due to the unavailability of the presiding judge in the case, Justice Mohammed Idris.

Also charged along with Kalu by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is a company, Slok Nig. Ltd, owned by the former governor.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria, the EFCC had on October 31, 2016 preferred a 34-count charge against the defendants.

The charge was later increased to 39 counts.

The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to all the counts, and were granted bail.

Idris, who tried the case at the time, had since been elevated to the Court of Appeal.

However, he consequently conducted and concluded the trial by fiat in August.

On October 22, both prosecution and defence counsel adopted their written submissions before the court.

The court has now reserved judgment until December 5 follow the unavailability of Idris in court on Monday.

The EFCC said that the defendants diverted over N7.2bn from Abia Government’s treasury during Kalu’s tenure as governor, in contravention of Sections 15(6), 16 and 21 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2005.

The commission said that the offences also contravene the provisions of the Money Laundering Act of 1995 as amended.

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