Orji Uzor Kalu Supreme Court verdict
EFCC Set For Fresh, Immediate Re-trial
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has reacted to the judgment of the Supreme Court which nullified the conviction of former Abia State Governor, Orji Uzor Kalu.
In a statement on Friday by its Head of Media and Publicity, Dele Oyewale, the anti-graft agency noted that the apex court did not acquit the former governor of the charges against him.
Earlier, a seven-man panel of the apex court led by Justice Olabode Rhodes-Vivour nullified the conviction of Senator Kalu and Ude Udeogu, a former Director of Finance and Account at the Abia State Government House.
Justice Ejembi Eko, who delivered the lead judgment, held that the Federal High Court in Lagos which tried and convicted the former governor and his aide, as well as his firm – Slok Nigeria Limited, acted without jurisdiction.
He noted that Justice Mohammed Idris who sentenced them was already a Justice of the Court of Appeal, as at that time.
The Supreme Court Justice added that a Justice of the Court of Appeal cannot operate as a judge of the Federal High Court.
According to him, the 1999 Constitution does not permit a judge elevated to a higher court to return to a lower court to conclude a trial he began.
The seven-man panel unanimously set aside the judgement that convicted the defendants and ordered a fresh trial of the defendants by another judge.
Justice Idris had convicted and sentenced Senator Kalu to 12 years imprisonment, and Mr Udeogu to 10 years imprisonment in his judgement delivered in December 2019.
In its reaction, the EFFC described the judgment of the apex court as ‘a technical ambush’ against Kalu’s trial.
It, however, stressed that it was prepared for another trial of the case as its evidences against the former governor and his co-defendants were overwhelming.
Read the statement from the anti-graft agency below:
Orji Kalu: EFCC SET FOR FRESH, IMMEDIATE RE-TRIAL
The attention of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has been drawn to the judgment of the Supreme Court nullifying the trial of a former governor of Abia State, Orji Kalu, his firm, Slok Nigeria Limited and Jones Udeogu, a former Director of Finance and Account of Abia State Government and ordering their fresh trial at the lower court.
The apex court based its verdict on the grounds that Justice Mohammed Idris, who convicted Kalu and others had been elevated to the Court of Appeal before the judgment and returned to the lower court to deliver the judgment which it considered as illegal.
The EFCC considers the judgment of the apex court as quite unfortunate. It is a technical ambush against the trial of the former governor.
The Commission is prepared for a fresh and immediate trial of the case because its evidences against Kalu and others are overwhelming.
The corruption charges against Kalu still subsist because the Supreme Court did not acquit him of them.
The entire prosecutorial machinery of the EFCC would be launched in a fresh trial where justice is bound to be served in due course.
Head, Media & Publicity
# Orji Uzor Kalu Supreme Court
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