Appeal Court rejects bid to retry Orji Kalu for N7.6bn fraud

Orji Kalu

Orji Kalu

by Edith Nwapi

The Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal on Tuesday struck out the bid by the Federal Government to begin fresh prosecution of former Abia Governor, Orji Uzor Kalu, in the N7.6 billion fraud and money laundering case brought against him.

The appellate court rejected the bid by the government in a judgment delivered in Abuja by Justice Joseph Oyewole on Wednesday.

Oyewole held that the record of appeal brought by the Federal Government was incompetent and unreliable for any court to use to grant its request.

Among others, Justice Oyewole said that the record of appeal was not compiled, signed and certified by any person known to law.

Specifically, Justice Oyewole said that the name of the person who compiled, signed and certified the record were not reflected as required by law.

A Federal High Court had on Dec. 5, 2019 jailed the former governor now a senator representing Abia North 12 years for alleged stealing the huge sums from the Treasury of Abia State while he held sway as governor of the state.

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The Judgment of the High Court was however voided and set aside by the Supreme Court on the ground that Justice Mohammed Idris who delivered it was already a Justice of the Court of Appeal having been elevated.

The Supreme Court judgment delivered by Justice Ejembi Ekwo held that Justice Mohammed Idris cannot operate as a Federal High Judge and Justice of the Court of Appeal at the same.

He subsequently ordered the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court to reassign the case to another Judge for a fresh trial.

Kalu however went back to the Federal High Court and obtained an order prohibiting the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC from initiating his fresh prosecution.

Justice Inyang Edem Ekwo who issued the prohibition order against EFCC said that Orji Uzor Kalu was not expressly stated in the judgment of the Supreme Court.

The federal government appeal against the decision of the high court was dismissed for the failure to produce proper records of proceedings of the high court.

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