Court revokes Kalu’s bail for traveling without permission
The court ordered him to submit himself and his passport to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) within 24 hours after his return to the country upon the conclusion of his medical treatment abroad.
The trial judge had last week given Kalu a seven -day ultimatum to return to Nigeria from Germany, where he was said to have gone for a surgical operation, or risk the revocation of his bail.
Kalu, the Commissioner for Finance during his tenure, Udeh Jones Udeogu, and his company, Slok Nigeria Limited are standing trial on an amended 39- count charge brought against them by the EFCC.
They were alleged to have used some banks to perpetrate N3.2billion fraud contrary to sections 17(c) 16, 14(1)(b)17(a) and 427 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2003.
The accused persons pleaded not guilty to all the count charges
When the matter was called yesterday, the former governor was absent in court, but was represented by his counsel, S.E Eleme who tendered a medical report from Kalu’s doctors in Germany, stating that the accused person would require 12 weeks to recuperate from the surgical operation.
Justice Idris, therefore, reminded him of the terms of his client bail, which state that he must deposit his Nigerian passport and any other passport that he owned to the court, adding that he could not travel outside the country without the leave of the court.
Eleme said his client travelled under an emergency situation, which did not permit him to apply for the court’s permission, but did not respond to how the accused person got the passport with which he travelled outside the country.
Rather, the counsel pleaded with the court to have mercy on his client and also consider the fact that he had so far conducted himself properly before the court since his trial started in 2007.
The prosecution counsel, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) said that when the case was adjourned indefinitely on September 27, the accused person through his counsel approached him that their client was sick and he needed to travel outside the for treatment.
Jacobs said they agreed that he should go and treat himself, but instead of doing so, the former governor was engaged in politicking.
“He contested and won his political party’s primary in his home state, so it was his fault that he did not treat himself before the trial resumed.
“Though I later got information that they wrote to the chairman of the EFCC informing the agency of the trip, if the letter had been brought to my knowledge, I would have advised them to seek the permission of the court as the anti-graft agency does not process the power to grant him leave to travel abroad.”
Justice Idris, therefore, held that although he recognised the right of the accused person to free movement, he breached the term of his bail, adding that no one is above the law.
” It is not acceptable that someone would break the law and expect that nothing would happen. It is a serious offence for someone to travel outside the country in violation of a valid court order.
“I will allow the accused person to enjoy his treatment without any harassment or intimidation from the court or security agencies, but upon his arrival in the country, he must submit himself to the EFCC. If we must have peace and stability in this country the law must be enforced and the court must not be afraid to enforce the law to ensure sanity in the society.
“So the bail of the accused person is hereby revoked and he must submit himself and his passport to the EFCC at the point of entry until further orders of the court are made,” the judge ruled.
He subsequently adjourned continuation of trial till January 23, 2019.
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