EFCC sets for immediate re-trial of Kalu, says judgement “unfortunate”
Nigeria’s anti-graft agency has described the Supreme Court judgement to nullify the conviction of a former governor of Abia State, Orji Kalu, as “unfortunate”.
“The judgment of the apex court as quite unfortunate,” the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in a series of tweets on Friday, adding that the “it is a technical ambush against the trial of the former governor.”
EFCC said the corruption charges against Kalu still subsist as the apex court did not acquit him of them.
“The entire prosecutorial machinery of the EFCC would be launched in a fresh trial where justice is bound to be served in due course,” EFCC said.
On Friday morning, the Supreme Court voided Kalu’s conviction of a multi-billion naira corruption trial he was found guilty of in December 2019.
Kalu was accused of pilfering and mismanaging funds belonging to Abia State during his two term adminstration as the governor between 1999 and 2007.
Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court in Lagos in December sentenced Senator Kalu to 12 years imprisonment in his judgement. He also sentenced Ude Udeogu, Kalu’s administration Director of Finance and Account, to 10 years imprisonment.
But Kalu and Udeogu filed an appeal to challenge Idris’s judgment at the Supreme Court.
The apex court, in a unanimous verdict on the appeal delivered by Justice Ejembi Eko, declared that the conviction of the appellants was null and void.
Justice Eko explained that the declaration was on the ground that Idris was already a Justice of the Court of Appeal, as at the time he delivered the judgment sentencing Kalu and Udeogu.
He held that a Justice of the Court of Appeal cannot operate as a judge of the Federal High Court.
The apex court, therefore, ordered the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court to reassign the case for trial.
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