A top and prominent Nigerian senator Orji Uzor Kalu has been jailed 12 years for diverting state funds amounting to $19.6m.
Kalu was found guilty of 39 fraud charges after standing trial since 2007 when he was charged Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Kalu is a member of President Muhammadu Buhari’s All Progressives Congress and a chief whip in the federal parliament’s upper house.
State prosecutors said Kalu along with a company he controlled and another individual diverted state money while he was the governor of a Nigerian state.
Kalu was governor of south-eastern Abia state between 1999 and 2007.
When he appeared in court he was seen shaken by the ruling and pleaded not to be handcuffed, but was led out.
The Punch newspaper reports that Kalu’s associate, Udeogu, was also sentenced to 10 years in prison.
The company Kalu used in perpetrating the fraud, Slok Limited, was ordered to be dealt with by Justice Idris Mohammed.
Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari has pledged to fight corruption since assuming office and renewed that pledge after winning re-election.
Meanwhile special adviser to the President on Political Matters, Senator Babafemi Ojudu, has warned that those stealing public funds will also be jailed like Kalu.
“Those of you stealing now will have your day too. It shall not be long,” he said.