Court suspends Kalu’s alleged N3.2 billion fraud trial over fiat
Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court, Lagos, yesterday suspended further hearing in the alleged N3.2 billion fraud trial of former Governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu and two others.
Justice Idris said he could not continue with the matter because he was yet to be issued fresh fiat by Justice Bulkachuwa. “What has happened is that the last fiat that was issued by the President of the Court of Appeal has expired at the end of November 2018.
“On January 10, 2019, I received fresh fiat in respect of some matters that I have started and some new matters but this particular case was not mentioned.
“For this reason, I have a strong feeling that I shouldn’t continue with proceedings in this case unless there is a further directive from the President of the Court of Appeal.“I should not proceed further, otherwise, I might be acting without authority. In the circumstance, I am of the view that further proceedings shouldn’t go on until I receive further information by way of fresh fiat from the Court of Appeal President. As soon as I receive further instruction, hearing notice will be sent to counsel,” the judge declared.
At the resumed hearing of the matter yesterday, the prosecutor, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), informed the court that the matter was slated for continuation of trial of the defendants and that the former governor was not in court.He also told the court that at the last hearing of the case, the court had ordered that the former governor, who was absent and travelled out of the country without court’s permission, submit himself and his travelling documents to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
He said that upon returning to the country, the former governor did not report to EFCC or return his travelling documents to the agency, but had been going around campaigning for his electoral ambition.
The former governor’s act, the prosecutor said, is flagrant disobedience to court order. However, before the defence counsel, Chief Awa Kalu (SAN), could respond, the trial judge announced the suspension of proceedings until further notice.
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