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Ex-Gov. Kalu’s N7bn fraud case retrial: Court fixes July 2 for ruling

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Barely two days after the EFCC Chairman indicated plans to retry ex-Abia Governor and currently, senator representing Abia North, Orji Uzor Kalu, a Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday fixed July 2 for a ruling in a suit brought by him to stop his retrial.

The court announced that all processes filed by parties in a suit would be adopted.

Persecondnews recalls that in February 2021, the court had granted Kalu leave to challenge the legality of the retrial.

Kalu is seeking an order of court prohibiting the EFCC from retrying him on the same alleged N7.1 billion money laundering charge against him.

He contended that having been tried once by EFCC, convicted and sentenced for the same charge, FHC/ABJ/CR/56/ 2007, it would amount to “double jeopardy” to be subjected to a fresh trial on the same charge.

He also applied for an order prohibiting the EFCC from retrying, harassing and intimidating him with respect to the said charge or any other charge based on same facts as he need not suffer double jeopardy.

However, at the resumed hearing of the case on Wednesday, Counsel to the ex-governor, Prof. Awa Kalu (SAN) told the court that the respondents had served on him their counter affidavits.

Responding, counsel to the 1st respondent (EFCC) Oluwaleke Atolagbe, the 2nd respondent, Mr George Ukaegbu and the 3rd respondent, Mr K.C Nwufor all admitted having filed and exchanged processes.

Justice Inyang Ekwo, in his ruling, said since all parties had “joined issues”, the court had taken over control of the case and adjourned the case until July 2 for adoption of the processes.

Kalu had been convicted and given a 12-year jail term by a Federal High Court in Lagos.

The former governor alongside his firm, Slok Nigeria Ltd and a former Director of Finance in Abia State, Jones Udeogu, were convicted for stealing N7.1 billion from the state treasury.

Kalu approached the Supreme Court and in its judgment of May 8, 2020, quashed the conviction and ordered a retrial of the defendants by the EFCC.

The Apex Court nullified the entire proceedings that led to Kalu’s conviction, stressing that the trial judge, Justice Mohammed Idris, was already elevated to the Court of Appeal at the time he sat and delivered a judgment against the defendants.

The highest court in the land insisted that Justice Idris was no longer a judge of the Federal High Court as at December 5, 2019, the day the former governor and his co-defendants were found guilty of the money laundering charge against them.

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