The Economic and Financial Crimes Commision (EFCC) said the Supreme Court judgement that nullified the the trial and conviction of former governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu was a technical ambush and an unfortunate development.
KanyiDaily recalls that Justice Mohammed Idris of a Federal High Court in Lagos had on December 5, 2019, sentenced Orji Kalu to 12 years’ imprisonment for N7.2 billion fraud and money laundering.
Kalu was convicted on all the 39 counts preferred against him by the EFCC, alongside a former Abia State Commissioner for Finance, Jones Udeogo, and his company, Slok Nig. Ltd.
However, in a unanimous judgment of the Supreme Court led by Justice Olabode Rhodes-Vivour on Friday, the apex court nullified the entire trial on the grounds that the constitution does not permit a judge elevated to a higher court to return to a lower court to conclude a part-heard case.
Reacting to the verdict, the EFCC in a statement on Friday vowed to prepare a fresh and immediate trial of the case, saying this is because its evidences against Mr Kalu and the others were overwhelming.
“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”, it said.
“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”.
Meanwhile, Orji Uzor Kalu has reacted to his victory at the supreme court, saying the five months he spent in prison had taught him invaluable lessons about the country’s justice system.