The lawmaker representing Abia North Senatorial District and former governor of the state, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu, said he met nothing in the account of Abia State when he assumed office as the governor in 1999.
Orji Uzor Kalu disclosed this at a Federal High Court in Lagos on Tuesday, 27th August 2019, during the trial of his alleged N7.2 billion fraud trial before Justice Mohammed Idris.
According to him, he governed the state between 1999 and 2007, with his own money in the first six months of his assumption, adding that he could not have stolen what was not in existence. Orji Uzor Kalu Said:
Responding to a question from his lawyer, Awa Kalu, about the alleged stolen N7.2 billion, the former governor said:
“Abia state didn’t have such amount. Even the day I was leaving, we borrowed money to pay salaries. Abia state didn’t have even a billion naira in any account at the time I was governor,” Kalu said.
“The monthly allocation of Abia state when I took over in June 1999 was N168 million. It was averaging between N168 million and N172 million monthly. The first month that I came in, there was even no money to buy diesel. I spent my own money to run the state for six months.
“In the year 2000, monthly allocation was between N170 million and N189 million. In 2001, it came to about N302 million to about N380 million. I can recollect in 2002, it was almost the same and in 2003 when the revenue allocation was changed, we were having about N400 million.
“The highest money I got as governor came from 2004 when we had about N1 billion and from that time up till May 2007 before I left, what we had was N1.6 billion.
“Throughout my stay in office, I never owed salary and pension. When I took over as governor and before I left, we moved it up to N500 million. It was from this that we were able to do a lot of things.”
Kalu also claimed that he gave former President Olusegun Obasanjo N100 million in 1998 when he (Obasanjo) was released from prison custody. He also alleged that he gave the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) N500 million when the party was formed in 1998.