N7.1bn fraud: Court fixes Sept. 20 for judgment in Kalu’s suit seeking to stop retrial
A Federal High Court in Abuja has slated September 20 for judgment in a suit by former Abia State Governor, Dr Orji Uzor Kalu, seeking to stop his retrial in an alleged N7.1billion fraud.
The Judge, Justice Inyang Edem Ekwo on Friday fixed the date after Kalu and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) adopted all processes filed for and against the suit.
The former governor, who is now a serving senator representing Abia North Senatorial District, is seeking to stop his retrial in a N7.1billion money laundering charges on the ground that he had been tried, convicted and imprisoned.
Prof. Awa Kalu SAN, counsel to the former governor, while adopting his processes informed the court that Kalu stood for trial for 12 years and got convicted and jailed for 10 years.
He cited section 36 (9) of the 1999 constitution which stipulates that no Nigerian shall be subjected to double jeopardy.
Awa Kalu insisted that the former governor, having served a period of jail term, would be subjected to double jeopardy if allowed by the court to be put on trial for the second time.
Ex-Gov Kalu’s firm battles to stop retrial in N7.1bn alleged fraud
Professor Kalu produced and read the Supreme Court judgment upon which the ex-governor was released after five months in prison adding that there was nowhere in the judgment where the apex court made order for his client’s trial.
He challenged the EFCC to point out to the court where order for retrial was made against the former governor
The senior lawyer then urged the court to prohibit the EFCC from going ahead with the planned retrial.
However, in a terse opposition to the suit., the EFCC through its counsel Rotimi Jacobs SAN asked the court to dismiss the suit with anger.
He submitted that the judgment which led to release of Kalu has been declared a nullity by the Supreme Court which also ordered retrial of the appellant in the matter Mr Udeh Jones who stood trial with Kalu in the same charges.
The anti-graft commission argued that since the Supreme Court order benefitted Kalu, he must bear the burden that arose from the apex court verdict.
Jacobs described Kalu suit as approbating and reprobating at the same time, frivolous, irritating and sought for it’s dismissal with order of Kalu to face retrial.
In a short ruling, Justice Ekwo fixed September 20 for judgment in the matter.
Specifically, Kalu is seeking an order of court prohibiting the federal government, through the EFCC, its officers, servants, others, agents, privies and any other person or bodies deriving authority from the Federal Republic of Nigeria, from retrying him on charge No. FHC/ABJ/CR/56/2007 between FRN vs Orji Kalu & 2 ors, or any other charge based on the same facts de novo, there being no extant judgment and ruling of a competent court in Nigeria mandating the same.
The ex-governor had also applied for order prohibiting the Federal Republic of Nigeria, through the EFCC (her agent), her officers, servants, others, agents, privies and any other person or bodies deriving authority from the Federal Republic of Nigeria, from retrying, harassing and intimidating him with respect to the charge as concerns charge No: FHC/ABJ/CR/56/2007 between FRN vs Orji Kalu & 2 ors or any other charge based on same facts as he need not suffer double jeopardy.
Also Kalu is asking the Federal High Court to restrain the EFCC from retrying him on the same alleged N7.1b money laundering charges against him.
He contested that having been tried once by EFCC, convicted and sentenced in the same charges FHC/ABJ/CR/56/ 2007, it will amount to double jeopardy for him if he is allowed to be subjected to a fresh trial on the same charge