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Kalu loses bid to stop trial over alleged N7.6b fraud

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Former governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu PHOTO: LADIDI LUCY ELUKPO

A Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday dismissed the no-case- submission filed by former governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu.

He had filed the application praying the court to dismiss a N7.6b fraud charge preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Trial judge, Mohammed Idris, ruled that Kalu had to explain certain documents tendered by the EFCC as exhibits in evidence against him.

Kalu is facing 39 counts charge with his co-defendants, Slok Nigeria Limited and Ude Udeogu, who served as his Director of Finance and Accounts at Government House, Umuahia.

While arraigning them before Justice Idris on October 31, 2016, they had pleaded not guilty to the charges, following which the EFCC opened the case, calling 19 witnesses and tendering several exhibits.

At the conclusion of the case, the defendants filed a no-case submission, arguing that the EFCC failed to link them to any crime and urged Justice Idris to dismiss the charges.

But the judge, however, disagreed with them, insisting that they have explanations to make on the allegations against them.

“The prosecution called 19 witnesses and tendered several exhibits, which have been thoroughly examined. Going through the witnesses’ evidence, it appears that if taken as unchallenged and uncontroverted, some link might be established between the first, second and third defendants and some of the alleged offences in the exhibits.

“The accused have some explanations to make in the light of the exhibits and the evidence so far led. The no-case submission is, hereby, dismissed,” he ruled.

Kalu’s counsel, Gordy Uche (SAN), pleaded with the judge for a six-week adjournment to enable him (Kalu) go for a surgical operation.

“The first defendant has a medical appointment for surgery and the lead counsel in the matter had actually written that he wants us to bring to the attention of your lordship with respect to the surgery,” Uche said.

While reminding the parties that he has up to September ending to finish the case, Idris asked the defendants to open their defence.

Uche, however, pleaded with the judge to adjourn the case till September 10, 2018.

But the prosecutor, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) pleaded that the case be heard in the first week of September.

Idris, however, adjourned the case to September 10 to enable the defendants to open their defence.


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