The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has issued the Senate a seven-day ultimatum to suspend payment of salaries and allowances to former Governor of Abia State, Mr. Orji Uzor Kalu, pending the outcome of any case at the court of appeal.
Kalu, a serving senator and Chief Whip in the Senate, was last week sentenced to 12 years in prison after a Lagos Division of the Federal High Court convicted him for N7.65 billion fraud.
The Senate had at the weekend said Kalu would continue to receive his salaries and all other entitlements while in prison
This is despite that he will not be performing any legislative function from prison.
The spokesperson of the Senate, Godiya Akwashiki, said until the case gets to Supreme Court and a final judgment is given, Kalu remains a serving lawmaker.
“He is still a senator. This is the first court. The matter is going to Supreme Court; so, he still has the opportunity to appeal up to the Supreme Court level.
But SERAP said it was giving the Senate leadership seven days to suspend, pending the outcome of any case at the court of appeal, payment of salaries and allowances to the convicted senator, stressing that monthly payment of N14.2m monthly to Kalu while in prison and unable to sit and perform the functions of a sitting senator is unconstitutional.
“We are re giving Senate leadership led by Dr. Ahmad Lawan seven days to suspend (pending the outcome of any case at the court of appeal) payment of salaries and allowances to Kalu who last week was sentenced to 12 years in prison after conviction for N7.65 billion fraud.
“Monthly payment of N14.2million monthly to Kalu while in prison and unable to sit and perform the functions of a sitting senator is unconstitutional. Kalu ordinarily ceases to be a senator, as per the provisions of section 66 of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended).
“Section 68(1) provides that a senator shall vacate his/her seat if any circumstances arise that would cause him/her to be disqualified for election as senator,” SERAP said in a statement yesterday.
Kalu was tried and convicted alongside his company, Slok Nigeria Limited, and Udeh Udeogu, who was Director of Finance and Accounts at the Abia State Government House during Kalu’s tenure as governor.