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Kalu opens defence in trial of alleged N7.6b fraud

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Former governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu PHOTO: LADIDI LUCY ELUKPO

A Federal High Court, Lagos yesterday dismissed a motion by representative of Abia North Senatorial District, Orji Uzor Kalu for an adjournment to enable him appear at an election petition tribunal.

Kalu, a former Abia State Governor, former Commissioner of Finance under his government, Ude Udeogo and Slok Nigeria Limited are answering charges bothering on money laundering and embezzlement brought against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

He was scheduled to open his defence yesterday, but when trial commenced, he asked the court for an adjournment, which was opposed by prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN).

Trial judge, Mohammed Idris, ruled in support of the prosecution and asked Kalu to open his defence, as the court had scheduled the case for hearing.

His counsel, Awa Kalu (SAN), repeated his motion for adjournment to enable his client to properly give evidence in his defence.

Idris granted the motion, but insisted that the trial will continue on a day-to-day basis until it was concluded.

The judge was elevated to the Court of Appeal in June 2018, but was given a fiat to preside on the case until it ends.

The first fiat was granted at the instance of Kalu’s counsel, who cited Section 396 (7) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), to prevent the case from being transferred to another judge. However, the fiat expired in November 2018.


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