N2.9BN FRAUD:EFFC LAMENTS DISAPPEARANCE OF STAR WITNESS OF KALU’S CASE

Oladimeji Ramon

An operative of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ovie Akpoyibo, on Monday lamented the agency’s inability to locate a former cashier at the Abia State Government House, Michael Udoh.

Akpoyibo, who is attached to the Calabar, Cross River State office of the EFCC, lamented before the Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday that all efforts to track Udoh down and bring him before the court had yielded no result.

The EFCC had listed Udoh as one of the witnesses it lined up to testify against a former governor of Abia State, Orji Kalu, who was charged with an alleged fraud of N2.9bn.

But the anti-graft agency said the former Abia State Government House cashier had been evasive.

Akpoyibo, who himself appeared as a witness in the case on Monday, told Justice Mohammed Idris that Udoh had absconded.

While being led in evidence by the prosecutor, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), Akpoyibo said, “In respect of M. A. Udoh, On January 15, 2018, I was instructed to go to Umuahia to locate his residence and if possible arrest him. When I got to Umuahia, I linked up with the state’s Attorney General and he called the Accountant-General who took me to Udoh’s apartment.

“Operatives gained access into the property the next day. At the place, we met Udoh’s wife and daughter and we were told that the man has travelled to Calabar. I later asked for his phone number but I could not connect with him. I then left my phone number with the wife so that he can call me anytime he is around.”

Akpoyibo said efforts to serve a court summons on Udoh had also failed as he could not be contacted.

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