BREAKING: Appeal Court Stops EFCC Form Retrying Orji Kalu

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The court of Appeal sitting in the Federal Capital Territory, has stopped the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC from retrying the former governor of Abia State, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu.

Sen. Orji Uzor Kalu

It will be recalled that federal high court in Abuja on September 29, 2021 barred the EFCC from retrying former governor on allegations of money laundering.

The EFCC had prosecuted Kalu alongside Ude Udeogu, a former director of finance and accounts with the Abia state government, and Kalu’s company, Slok Nigeria Limited, on 39 counts of fraud involving N7.1 billion at a federal high court in Lagos.

Mohammed Idris, who is now a justice of the court of appeal, had at the end of the trial, sentenced Kalu to 12 years’ imprisonment while Udeogu was sentenced to 10 years in prison

The third defendant, Slok Nigeria Limited, was ordered to be wound up and its assets forfeited to the Nigerian government.

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 asked 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.

In his judgement, justice Inyang Ekwo, held that the supreme court in its judgment did not specifically order that Kalu should be retried.

“He cannot be retried safe with an order of the supreme court,” the judge held.

Ekwo, however, held that since the apex court specifically ordered that the case file of Udeogu be returned to the federal high court, the EFCC can proceed with his retrial.

“The supreme court order on Mr Udeogu was explicit, that the case file be returned to the chief judge for assignment to another judge,” Ekwo held.

“No order was made that the case file of the former governor be returned to the chief judge for assignment to another judge.”

But the EFCC vowed to challenge the ruling at Appeal Court, arguing that the judge failed to abide by the Supreme Court’s decision.

It also accused the judge of cherry-picking by giving effect to the apex court’s decision nullifying the previous conviction, but refusing to implement the aspect of the verdict that ordered a retrial.

However, the appellate court in it’s judgement today, barred the anti-graft commission from retrying the senator representing Abia North.

More details about the ruling later..

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