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Nigeria yet to deal with alleged thieving ex-gov 11 years after

Nigeria’s anti-corruption agency, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has established a new sum as the amount of money allegedly stolen by former Abia State governor, Orji Uzo Kalu

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Nigeria’s anti-corruption agency, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has established a new sum as the amount of money allegedly stolen by former Abia State governor, Orji Uzo Kalu.

The new figures now stand at N7.65 billion, up from N2.9 billion. The agency had on Tuesday re-arraigned Kalu before the Federal High Court in Lagos.

Kalu has been on trial for eleven years, raising serious concerns over quality of prosecution and willingness of government to pursue the case. The suspect is a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) party in Nigeria.

The anti-graft agency re-arraigned him alongside his company, Slok Nigeria Limited, and Ude Udeogu, who served as the Director of Finance and Account, Abia State Government House, under Kalu.

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EFCC had 11 years ago levelled a 34 count-charge against Kalu over alleged diversion, stealing and laundering of N2.9 billion.

On Tuesday, however, the commission re-arraigned the former governor on amended increased charges, from 34 to 39, and an increased amount of N7.65 billion from the initial N2.9 billion.

According to the prosecuting counsel for the EFCC, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), the amendment became essential in view of new facts revealed by some of the 19 witnesses who had testified against Kalu and his co-defendants in court.

The trial judge, Justice Mohammed Idris, paved the way for the re-arraignment of the defendants, having sacked the objection raised by the defence counsel to the amended charge sheet.

Aside the N7.1 billion, Kalu and his co-defendants were also alleged to have received a total of N460 million allegedly stolen from the Abia State Government treasury between July and December 2002.

Kalu, Udeogu and Slok Nigeria Limited, meanwhile, pleaded not guilty when the charges were read to them and were allowed to continue with the bail granted them 11 years ago when they were first arraigned.

Metro

Zambian government moves to retrieve body of student killed while fighting in Russia-Ukraine war

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Zambian authorities have resolved to send a delegation to Russia next week to retrieve the body of a 23-year-old Zambian student, Lemekhani Nathan Nyirenda, who died while fighting for the Russian military in Ukraine.

Nyirenda’s family and the government are, however, still waiting for answers from Moscow on how he was recruited into the army while serving a nine-year prison sentence in Russia.

Spokesman for the Zambian Ministry of Information and Media, Thabo Kawana, who confirmed this in a statement on Saturday, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is spearheading efforts to bring the body of Nyirenda back to the country for burial.

“The government is also offering support during this trying moment and doing everything they can to arrange for the funeral and repatriation of the body back to Zambia,” Kawana said.

“Using our diplomatic channels and our all-weather cooperation between Russia and ourselves, we will be able to get to the bottom of this matter,” he added.

Zambia’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Stanley Kakubo, at a press conference earlier in the week, said that Nyirenda who had been studying at the Moscow Engineering Physics Institute, was serving a nine-year prison sentence for a drug offense.

He said Nyirenda was killed on the front lines in September, but Russian authorities only just informed Zambia of the death while Zambia is demanding answers over the student’s death and why he had been sent to Ukraine.

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Algerian court sentences 49 people to death for lynching citizen over forest fires

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An Algerian court has sentenced 49 people to death for lynching and burning a citizen, Jamal Ben Ismail, and mutilating his body in the Kabylia region after he was wrongly accused him of causing a vast forest fire in which over 90 people were killed, the Algerian Press Service reports.

However, according to the Algerian moratorium on executions enacted in 1993, the sentences would be concerted to life imprisonment terms.

The report by the APS on Friday said the Casablanca Court of First Instance in Algiers, also handed down judgements “ranging from ten to two years enforceable imprisonment against 28 defendants, in addition to fines ranging from 100 to 200,000 Algerian dinars, while it acquitted 17 other defendants.”

“All the accused were prosecuted on multiple charges, particularly the offence of committing “terrorist acts and subversion against the state security and national unity, involvement in deliberate and premeditated murder.

“Other charges were assault with violence against members of the public force, dissemination of hate speech and incitement to destroy the property of others and armed gathering,” according to the APS.

Local media reports that the then 38-years-old Ismail, had voluntarily gone to a town in Tizi Ouzou in the northwest of the country to help extinguish forest fires.

“When he learned that some of the town’s residents suspected him of being involved in setting fires because he was a stranger to the region, he rushed to hand himself to the police, however, a large crowd of angry citizens snatched him from the hands of the police, tortured him, burned him alive and mutilated his body,” a media report said.

Some videos circulated on social media showed crowds surrounding the police car where Ben Ismail was held, they then dragged him out and started beating him.

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