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EFCC opposes Kalu’s bid for post-conviction bail

By Yetunde Ayobami Ojo (Lagos), Abdulganiyu Alabi (Kaduna) Charles Ogugbuaja (Owerri) and Matthew Ogune (Abuja)
18 December 2019   |   4:13 am
Representative of Abia North Senatorial District, Orji Uzor Kalu yesterday asked the Federal High Court, Lagos for a post-conviction bail pending the hearing of his appeal.

Orji Uzor Kalu. PHOTOS:Twitter

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Representative of Abia North Senatorial District, Orji Uzor Kalu yesterday asked the Federal High Court, Lagos for a post-conviction bail pending the hearing of his appeal. Kalu, a former Governor of Abia State, who was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment for N7.65b fraud by Justice Muhammed Idris of the Federal High Court, Lagos on December 5, 2019 had applied for a post-conviction bail through his counsel, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN). He claimed that he had health challenges that could not be managed at the medical facilities in the Custodial Centre, Ikoyi, Lagos and prayed the court to grant him bail, while he challenges his conviction at the Court of Appeal.

But the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) rejected his application filed before Justice Muhammed Liman of the Federal High Court Ikoyi, Lagos.Counsel to EFCC, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), opposed the application saying, “Although bail is generally a right of an accused as guaranteed by the Constitution, it is not a right available to a convict because the presumption of innocence had crystallised into guilt and conviction.

Besides, Acting Chairman of the Northern Elders’ Forum (NEF), Professor Ango Abdullahi has said Kalu should not be alone in prison if President Muhammadu Buhari means to really fight corruption in the country. Abdulahi argued that there should be no sacred cows in the anti-corruption fight as, “We have now seen corruption on a massive scale and nobody is doing anything about it.”

He said most corrupt politicians were walking freely because the All Progressives Congress (APC) has forgiven their sins, pointing out that the case of Danjuma Goje whose ‘sin’ was allegedly forgiven by APC readily came to mind.He stated this while fielding questions from journalists yesterday in Kaduna at a public lecture titled, “Education As An Instrument For National Integration: The Northern Nigeria Crisis.”Abdullahi, said if President Buhari was truly committed to the anti-graft fight, the nation’s courts and prisons would have been congested with corrupt politicians.

“The President said he is fighting corruption, but I don’t believe him because if he is fighting corruption, our courts and prisons should be full by now. This is because corruption is everywhere. “You don’t just pick one case and make it a universal example of fighting corruption. We have just seen the conviction of Orji Uzor Kalu and it is becoming something that the world should know, when there are so many people that stole over N70b. Those persons should also be in prison with Kalu,” he stated.

Meanwhile, the Coalition of South East Youth Leaders (COSEYL) has urged EFCC to extend the corruption fight to other former governors and political office holders in the country.In a statement issued by it President General, Goodluck Egwu Ibem and Secretary-General, Kanice Igwe, the group said its call followed its conviction that EFCC’s anti-corruption stance was not enough and not well spread tom other geo-political zones of the country

“We urge the EFCC to extend the fight against corruption to former governors and political office holders from other geo-political zones for equity and fairness. There should not be any sacred cows in the fight against corruption. It should be holistic,” it added.

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