Court halts re-arraignment of Kalu over alleged N7.1b fraud
Grants ex-gov leave to challenge retrial
Justice Inyang Ekwo of Federal High Court, Abuja, yesterday, ordered that re-arraignment of former governor of Abia State, Orji Uzo Kalu, over alleged N7.1 billion money laundering be suspended temporarily.
According to the court, retrial of Kalu has to be put on hold pending outcome of the process challenging legality of his retrial over the same alleged offence.
The judge agreed that the Senate Chief Whip has placed sufficient materials of value before the court to enable him secure permission for judicial review of his retrial in charges in which he had been tried, convicted and made to spend some months in Kuje Prison in Abuja.
The court also granted Kalu permission to apply for order of perpetual injunction against the Federal Government through Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to prohibit his retrial so that he doesn’t have to suffer double jeopardy.
Consequently, Justice Ekwo gave Kalu seven days within which to file and serve on EFCC all the processes he intends to use to challenge legality of his retrial.
Afterwards, the court fixed February 23, for mention of the matter. Kalu had asked the court to stop EFCC from retrying him on the same money laundering charge.
His argument was that having been tried once by EFCC, convicted and sentenced over the same charge, it would amount to double jeopardy for him to be made to face fresh trial on the same charge.
In the ex-parte motion moved before Justice Ekwo last Tuesday by Kalu’s counsel, Prof. Awa Kalu (SAN), the former governor pleaded with the court to rescue him from suffering double jeopardy.