Court fixes April 20 to hear Orji Kalu’s suit seeking to stop retrial - SALIENT TIMES ONLINE


Tuesday, 23 February 2021

Court fixes April 20 to hear Orji Kalu’s suit seeking to stop retrial

By Our Correspondent

A federal high court in Abuja has fixed April 20 to hear an application seeking to stop the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from retrying Orji Uzor Kalu, former Abia state governor.

The EFCC had preferred a 36-count charge against Kalu and Ude Jones Udeogu, a former director of finance and accounts in Abia.

While the former governor bagged 12 years imprisonment in December 2019, Udeogu was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

However, the supreme court on May 8, 2020, voided the trial and ordered a retrial following an appeal filed by Kalu’s co-defendant.

But Kalu is asking the court to stop the commission from retrying him.

According to him, the supreme court’s pronouncement on retrial was peculiar to Udeogu, adding that it will amount to double jeopardy if he is allowed to be subjected to a fresh trial on the same charge.

Inyang Ekwo, the presiding judge, had on February 8 granted leave to the former governor to pursue his application seeking to stop his retrial.

The court also ordered a stay of proceedings in the main suit pending the hearing and determination of the application.

When the matter came up on Tuesday, Rotimi Jacobs who appeared on behalf of EFCC, told the court that the originating summons was served on his chambers instead of the federal government.

He said he was yet to be briefed by the federal government and that accepting to go on with the matter would amount to professional misconduct.

Responding, Awa Kalu, counsel to Orji Kalu, said he has no problem serving the EFCC with the originating summons.

Other lawyers who announced appearances in the suit said they were properly served.

In a short ruling, the judge ordered Kalu to ensure processes are served on the EFCC within seven days. He then adjourned the matter to April 20 for hearing.