Court fixes July 13 to hear Orji Kalu’s suit seeking to stop retrial - SALIENT TIMES ONLINE


Monday, 21 June 2021

Court fixes July 13 to hear Orji Kalu’s suit seeking to stop retrial

By Our Correspondent

A federal high court in Abuja has fixed July 13 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.

Kalu had also approached the federal high court in Abuja, seeking to stop the EFCC from starting a fresh trial.

He said 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, in a ruling in February, had adjourned the matter till April 20 for hearing.

The hearing was, however, stalled when the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) embarked on a nationwide strike on April 6 to protest the non-implementation of financial autonomy for the judiciary.

On June 9, JUSUN announced the suspension of its industrial action.

Marvel Akpoyibo, counsel to Slok Limited — owned by Kalu — in an application on Monday, told the presiding judge that he had a motion seeking “an order of prohibition prohibiting the Federal Republic of Nigeria through the, EFCC, her agents, her officers, servants, privies and any other person or bodies deriving authority from the Federal Republic of Nigeria from retrying the applicant on charge No. FHC/ABJ/CR/56/07 or any other charge based on the same facts.”

In the applicant’s processes, the company also claimed that the apex court had voided the matter and “did not order its retrial”.

The presiding judge, who fixed the date for the suit in a ruling on Monday, also gave Akpoyibo seven days to serve his processes on the respondents.