A former Abia State Government House Director of Finance, Mr Jones Udeogu, Wednesday said he was not aware that it was against public service rules for a civil servant to get government contracts.
Udeogu is standing trial on a N7.2billion fraud charge, alongside former Abia State Governor Orji Uzor Kalu, at a Federal High Court in Lagos.
Kalu, Udeogu and a firm Slok Nigeria Ltd, are first to third defendants on the charge filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Udeogu, also stated that it was Kalu’s Chief of Staff, Dr. T. A Orji, who determined who got what from the Government House account.
He disclosed this while being led-in-evidence by his counsel, Chief Solo Akuma (SAN).
Udeogu said based on Civil Service Rules, he neither had direct contact with the former governor nor took orders from him, rather he interacted with Kalu’s Chief of Staff, who also managed Government House funds.
“According to Civil Service Rules, nobody can bypass the Chief of Staff to see or take orders from the governor, all the Directors take orders from the Chief of Staff, Unit Heads take orders from their various Directors and it is only the Chief of Staff that can give approval for who gets what from the Government House bank accounts.
“My duty then was just to work out release of funds in any forms either by cash or cheque from the accounts”, he said.
He added that all the disbursement of funds in Abia State Government House were made pursuant to the approval of the Chief of Staff.
Udeogu also denied partaking in payment of any money to the account of the third defendant (Slok Nigeria Ltd).
“I did not partake in the payment of funds to the account of Slok Nigeria Ltd as alleged in counts 34 to 38. I am also not a signatory to the account of Slok Nigeria Ltd.
“Neither me nor any other staff of Government House paid any money into Slok account. We also did not receive any Board Resolution from Slok requesting for any money to be paid into Slok account”, he said.
Under cross extermination by EFCC counsel Mr. Rotimi Jacobs SAN, Udeogu stated that he owns Udex Nigeria Limited with his wife who works in the Abia State Ministry of Justice and is now a state high court judge.
When Jacobs asked him if didn’t know that it was against public service rules for a civil servant to collect contracts from the government he and wife worked for, Udeogwu said he was not aware.
Further hearing in the matter continues today.