9th February, 2020
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is reportedly beaming its searchlight on Senator Theodore Orji, the successor of the jailed Abia governor, Orji Uzor Kalu.
Mind-boggling billions of naira have been traced to the personal and corporate accounts of Theodore Orji’s children, one of whom, Eyinnaya Orji, is the speaker of the Abia State Assembly.
Theodore Orji succeeded Orji Uzor Kalu in 2007 and reigned till 2015. He is now a two-term Senator in the National Assembly.
A whistleblower three years ago led EFCC to the various accounts, via a petition, dated March 17, 2017 and filed under the aegis of ‘Fight Corruption: Save Nigeria Group’, alleging diversion of public funds, belonging to the Abia people.
The SUN newspaper, owned by Orji Kalu leaked the details of the petition in a report that has gone viral. The EFCC had interrogated Theodore Orji in 2018 November over a similar allegation of graft, in connection with loans given small and medium scale businesses in the state.
The SUN reported that Theodore Orji as governor received N383 billion revenue from federal accounts, N55 billion from Excess Crude Revenue, N2.3 billion Sure-P, N1.8 billion Ecological funds, N10.5 billion loan from First Bank of Nigeria through the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Local Government Affairs and N4 billion Loan from Diamond Bank.
He also received N12 billion Paris Club refund, N2 billion Agricultural loan for farmer and N55 billion ASOPADEC funds.
The petitioners claimed that nothing could be shown to prove that the funds received were well used.
A source told Sunday Sun that based on the petition, the EFCC commenced investigations and discovered that the former governor was drawing N500 million monthly purported to be security vote, which were being converted.
“As he became the governor in 2007, he continued to draw the N500 million cash monthly from June 2007 to May 2015.
“The N500 million, investigation revealed, is aside of the security funds expended on the Nigerian Police, the Nigerian Army, DSS, Navy anti-Kidnapping Squad, anti-robbery Squad, purchase of security equipment and vehicles for the security agencies.
“Investigation was extended to his family members to ascertain the link and culpability of the alleged fraud.
“The ex-governor’s first son, Chinedum Orji Enyinnaya who is currently the Speaker of the Abia State House of Assembly is now a frequent guest at the EFCC headquarters to throw light on his involvement in the fraud.
“A check on his financial activities revealed that he had about 100 accounts in different banks, with over 80 per cent of the accounts still very active. The accounts which were both corporate and individual received so much deposit in cash without evidence of job or services rendered,” the petition claimed.
The Fotoworld Industry Limited GTB account with number 2022025805, where most of the funds are kept was said to have been traced to Senator T.A Orji’s son.
“The company received deposit of $20, 849, 044.21 (Twenty Million Eight Hundred and Forty Nine Thousand and Forty Four Dollars Twenty One Cent).
“Same company with another account number 2022025764 in First Bank of Nigeria (FBN) received a cumulative deposit of N362.6 million.
“Fotoworld has several other accounts with FBN. The accounts and deposits are: 2026144229, $84, 000 cash deposit between 2014 and 2015; between 2012 and 2015, account number 2022025764 housed N342, 573, 056.50; Account number 2022025939between November 2012 and July 2015 recieved a deposit of 1, 689, 320.89 Pounds Sterling.
“The GTB account 0039060117 of the same company housed N88.3 billion between February 2009 and July 2014,” the petition claimed, among other deposits.
Another company said to have been used by T.A. Orji was Fotofast Industry Limited, which had several accounts opened in FBN.
“The sum of N20, 861, 165.95 entered into the FBN account number 2014629152 between 2011 and 2017. Between 2011 and 2016, another N223, 929, 515.37 was lodged in Fotofast’s account number 2015559102 domiciled in FBN.
“Other lodgements in different Fotofast Industry Limited accounts with FBN are: account number 2014629152, n4, 103, 574, 603.59; account number 2015559102, N223, 929, 515.37; account number 2005428513 had N1, 719, 939, 006.77 between 2007 and 2015; account number 2015559102 had N273, 941, 436.47. Between 2011 and 2015, FBN account number 2014668964, received the sum of N64, 898, 657.77.
“Several accounts were also opened in GTB by Fotofast Industry Limited. They include: account number 0040777462 which received deposits of N425, 606, 131.71 between 2002 and 2009; account number 0040777479 received N71, 815, 987 between 2002 and 2008; account number 0040777486 had N23, 463, 880 between 2008 and 2010 while N158, 499, 815 was the deposit in the GTB account number 0040777493. Another N50 million was lodged in GTB account number 0039691058,” the petition claimed.
Cheetah Press Limited is another concern of the ex-governor’s son. The company with FBN account number 2006413367 had deposits of N1.083 billion between 2007 and 2017.
In Union Bank, the same company had a deposit of N430 million in account number 0034400341,” a source said.
Cheetah’s Standard Chartered account number 000171072 had N42 million between 2011 and 2016. In GTB account number 0107577738, N241, 059074. 24 was traced to Cheetah Press between 2011 and 2016 and another N966million between 2011 and 2016.
In UBA alone, Cheetah’s account number 1015210129 had N143, 851, 800 between 2010 and 2018; while account number 1008016040 had N2. 2 billion between 2016 and 2020.
Another UBA account number 1011361993 of Cheetah had N782, 694, 255.77 between 2007 and 2019, Sunday Sun learnt.
EFCC’s analysis of several other accounts of the Orjis is still ongoing.