The Senate on Friday ruled out the possibility of declaring vacant, the seat of its Chief Whip, Senator Orji Kalu, following his conviction by a Federal High Court in Lagos on Thursday.
Kalu, a former governor of Abia State, was sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment over a N7.1bn fraud charges against him since 2007 by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
The judgment was delivered by Justice Mohammed Idris, 12 years after the EFCC filed the suit against him.
Kalu was convicted alongside his firm, Slok Nigeria Limited, and Jones Udeogu, who served under him as the director of finance and account at the Abia State Government House in Umuahia.
Reacting to the calls on the leadership of the Senate to declare his seat vacant, the Spokesperson for the red chamber, Senator Godiya Akwashiki, said it was not possible as such request would only be considered after the embattled senator had explored all the legal options available to him without success.
Akwashiki argued that the constitution of Nigeria does not mandate the Senate President to unilaterally declare the seat of any senator facing prosecution or convicted by a lower court, vacant.
On whether Kalu will continue to receive salaries while in prison, Akwashiki said the National Assembly bureaucracy determines the payment of senators based on the template from the Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Allocation Commission.
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