Court bars EFCC from retrying Orji Kalu on N7.1bn money laundering charge

A FEDERAL High Court has barred the Nigerian Federal Government and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from retrying the former Abia Governor Orji Uzor Kalu.

“An order is hereby made prohibiting the Federal Government through the EFCC from retrying the applicant (Kalu) on charge no. FHC/ABJ/CR/56/2007 since there was no order in the judgment of the Supreme Court for the retrial of Kalu,” Presiding Judge Inyang Ekwo said in a suit filed by Kalu.

Kalu, a serving senator representing Abia North and also the Chief Whip of the Nigerian Senate, had filed a suit seeking an order of the court to prohibit the EFCC from retrying him on the same alleged N7.1 billion money laundering charge against him.

He contended that having been tried once by EFCC, convicted and sentenced in the same charge, FHC/ABJ/CR/56/ 2007, it would amount to double jeopardy for him to be subjected to a fresh trial on the same charge.

He also prayed the court to stop the EFCC from harassing and intimidating him concerning the said charge or any other charge based on the same facts as he needed not suffer double jeopardy.






     

     

    The former Abia State governor was earlier found guilty and handed a 12-year jail term by the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court on December 5, 2019.

    The trial court convicted him alongside his firm, Slok Nigeria Limited, and a former Director of Finance in Abia State, Jones Udeogu, for alleged N7.1 billion fraud committed from the state treasury.

    However, in its judgment on May 8, the Supreme Court quashed the conviction and ordered a retrial of the defendants.

    In a unanimous decision by a seven-member panel of Justices, the Supreme Court nullified all the  proceedings that led to Kalu’s conviction. The court stressed that the trial judge, Mohammed Idris, lacked the power to convict the accused as he had already been elevated to the Court of Appeal as at the time he sat and delivered the convicted judgement.

    You can reach out to me on Twitter via: vincent_ufuoma

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