…orders fresh trial of defendants
Few months in jail, the nation’s apex court, Supreme Court has quashed the 12-year jail term imposed on the former Abia State Governor, Orji Uzor-Kalu.
In a unanimous decision by a seven-man panel of Justices led by Justice Amina Augie, the court held that the Federal High Court in Lagos acted without jurisdiction when it convicted Kalu, his firm — Slok Nigeria Ltd and former Director of Finance in Abia State Service, Jones Udeogu.
It held that trial Justice Mohammed Liman was no longer a judge of the Federal High Court at the time he sat and delivered the judgelment convicting the defendants for allegedly stealing about N7.1billion from the state treasury.
“Justice Liman, having been elevated to the Court of Appeal before then, lacked the powers to return to sit as a High Court Judge,” it ruled.
The Supreme Court said the fiat that was issued to him by the Court of Appeal President pursuant to Section 396 (7) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act was unconstitutional.
The justices, therefore, vacated the judgment and ordered a fresh trial of the defendants.