Promoting Good Governance.

Court rejects post-conviction bail, returns Kalu to prison

ON Monday, the former governor of Abia State, Orji Kalu returned to prison after a Federal High Court in Lagos rejected a post-conviction bail filed by him on basis of ailing health.

Justice Mohammed Liman has dismissed Kalu’s application on the grounds that it lacked merit.

In his judgement, Liman was awe as to why Kalu sought for a post-conviction bail when the appeal against his conviction was still pending.

Justice Liman ruled that Kalu should be remanded in prison pending the decision of the appellant court, where he had challenged his conviction.

Kalu, the Senates’ Chief Whip and legislator representing Abia North Senatorial District on December 17 had requested for bail from the Ikoyi Correctional Service pending the determination of an Appeal against his sentence.

Messrs Fagbemi, the defendant’s counsel informed the court that his client had health issues that needed urgent attention. He stressed on the inadequacies of the correctional service to resolve the issue, hence the need for a bail.

Fagbemi also argued that being a lawmaker, his incarceration would leave his constituency in jeopardy.

However, the prosecution counsel Rotimi Jacobs, argued that such an application for bail pending appeal is “sparingly” granted by the court especially in situations where the terms of imprisonment would have lapsed before the appeal is determined, and such was not the situation with the case of Kalu.

On the health condition of Kalu, Jacobs said there was no recent medical report to show his state of health as the medical report attached was over a year ago.

Besides, he said the medical facilities at the correctional centre are capable of handling the medical condition of the convict. He, therefore, urged the court to refuse the bail application of Kalu.

Kalu’s trial started in 2007, where the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) charged and prosecuted the ex-governor together with his former Commissioner for Finance, Jonnes Ude Udeogo, and a Company, Slok Nigeria Ltd, on an amended 39-count charge of fraud.

However, the trial experienced a series of setbacks but eventually ended in October 2019 when parties adopted written submissions.

Kalu and his company Slok Nigeria Ltd were found guilty of all 39 counts of the charge, while the second defendant Udeogo, was convicted on 34 counts of the charge.

On December 5, Justice Mohammed Idris had convicted and sentenced Kalu to a concurrent term of 12 years imprisonment over N7.2billion fraud and Udeogo sentenced to 10 years imprisonment.

The court had ordered that Slok Nigeria Ltd be wound up and its assets forfeited to Federal Government.

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