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BREAKING: Federal High Court prohibits FG From Retrying Former Abia Gov Uzor Kalu Over N7.1bn Fraud

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Abuja Federal High Court has blocked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission from retrying former Abia State Governor, Orji Uzor Kalu over the N7.1billion money laundering charge he had earlier been tried on.

The court in a judgement delivered by Justice Inyang Ekwo, held that the Supreme Court did not in the verdict it gave on May 8, 2020, order the retrial of either Kalu or his firm, Slok Nigeria Limited, but rather only ordered the retrial of former Director of Finance in Abia State, Jones Udeogu, who was the Appellant before the court

Justice Ekwo, therefore, upheld a suit filed by Kalu’s lawyers, led by Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Awa Kalu to challenge the legal propriety of his planned re-arraignment by the EFCC.

Kalu’s lawyers in an application had argued that allowing the EFCC to try him afresh on the charge and the same facts upon which he was earlier convicted and sentenced on December 5, 2019, would occasion him to suffer a “double jeopardy”.

The application reads, “The unassailable position of the law is that no person who shows that he has been tried by any court of competent jurisdiction or tribunal for a criminal offence and either convicted or acquitted shall again be tried for that offence having the same ingredients as that offence, save upon the order or a competent Court.”

Giving reasons why his trial should not commence afresh, Kalu, said he was convicted and sentenced by Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court in Lagos with respect to the charge against him.

Justice Idris had sentenced Kalu to 12 years imprisonment in his judgement delivered on December 5, 2019.

However, the Supreme Court nullified the judgement in May 2020 following an appeal by Kalu.

In a unanimous verdict on the appeal delivered by Justice Ejembi Eko, the Supreme Court declared the conviction null and void.

Justice Eko explained that the declaration was on the ground that Justice Mohammed Idris was already a Justice of the Court of Appeal at the time he delivered the judgement.

He held that a Justice of the Court of Appeal cannot operate as a judge of the Federal High Court.

Kalu is currently the Chief Whip of the Senate.

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