Court to deliver judgment in suit seeking to stop retrial of Kalu Sept 20
Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja has fixed September 20, 2021, for judgment in a suit by former Abia State governor, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, seeking to stop his retrial in an alleged N7.1 billion fraud.
The Judge fixed the date yesterday after Kalu and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) adopted all processes filed for and against the suit.
The former governor, who is now a senator representing Abia North Senatorial district in the Senate, is seeking to stop his retrial bordering on money laundering on the ground that he had been tried, convicted and imprisoned.
Kalu’s counsel, Prof. Awa Kalu (SAN), while adopting his processes, stated that Kalu stood for trial for 12 years and got a conviction and was jailed for 10 years.
He cited section 36 (9) of the 1999 constitution, which stipulates that no Nigerian shall be subjected to double jeopardy.
Awa Kalu insisted that the former governor having served a period of his jail term would be subjected to double jeopardy if allowed by the court to be put on trial for the second time.
He produced and read the Supreme Court judgment upon which the ex-governor was released after five months in prison, adding that there was nowhere in the judgment the apex court made order for his client’s retrial.
He challenged the EFCC to point out to the court where the order for retrial was made against the former governor. The senior lawyer then urged the court to prohibit EFCC from going ahead with the planned retrial.
However, in a vehement opposition to the suit, EFCC through its counsel, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) asked the court to dismiss the suit with anger.
He submitted that the judgment, which led to release of Kalu, has been declared a nullity by the Supreme Court, adding that the court also ordered the retrial of the appellant.
EFCC argued that since the Supreme Court order benefitted Kalu, he must bear the burden that arose from the apex court verdict.
Jacobs described Kalu’s suit as approbating and reprobating at the same time, frivolous and irritating. He called for its dismissal with an order that Kalu should face retrial. In a short ruling, Justice Ekwo fixed September 20 for judgment in the matter.