FOR travelling to Germany for medical treatment without obtaining permission from the court, Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court, Lagos, has withdrawn the bail he granted to the former Governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor-Kalu.
Uzor-Kalu is being tried by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on charges of corruption, abuse of office and mismanagement of Abia State funds during his days as governor of the state.
He pleaded not guilty to the charges and was subsequently granted bail. Among other conditions, Uzor-Kalu was ordered to submit his travelling documents with the court’s Registrar.
However, on the last adjourned date, Uzor-Kalu’s counsel, Gordy Uche, informed the court that his client travelled to Germany to undergo a surgery. He explained that the situation was urgent and begged the court for an adjournment to enable him to recover.
But the counsel to the EFCC, Rotimi Jacobs, objected to the application and urged the trial judge to treat Uzor-Kalu as one who had jumped bail.
“I am not aware when the 1st defendant wanted to travel. We only got to know that the 1st defendant travelled abroad for medical treatment through his media aide, one Kunle Oyewunmi,” Jacobs said.
“Things must be done in accordance with the law. In my own view, what happened is that the 1st defendant has jumped bail. This is an attempt to further frustrate this trial because no application was made to the court to travel.”
Justice Idris agreed with the prosecution counsel and ordered that Uzor-Kalu must appear before the court in the next seven days. That deadline expired on Monday, but Uzor-Kalu was not in court, prompting the trial judge to revoke his bail.
He ruled that Uzor-Kalu is permitted to continue his medical treatment abroad without harassment by security agencies, but that upon his return to the country, “he shall, at the point of entry, surrender his passport and other relevant travel documents to the EFCC”.
“He shall also surrender himself to the EFCC within 24 hours of his return, failing which he shall be arrested and detained by the EFCC,” Justice Idris ruled.
Uzor-Kalu has since joined the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), but his trial has continued regardless.
He is currently campaigning to be elected as a senator representing Abia North.