The President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa has commended the completion of the corruption case against the Chief Whip of the Nigerian Senate, Orji Uzor Kalu, attributing it to the provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA).
According to Justice Bulkachuwa, the provision of the Administration of Criminal Justice, 2015, which allows judges elevated to the Court of Appeal to return to the high court to conclude their part-heard criminal cases pending in their court before their elevation made the completion of the case possible.
The Appeal Court president stated this on Monday in Abuja at a national workshop aimed at setting minimum standards for the effective implementation of ACJA.
The workshop was organised by the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies in collaboration with Federal Ministry of Justice.
It would be recalled that a judge of the Appeal Court, Justice Mohammed Idris, last week convicted Kalu, a former governor of Abia State for fraud to the tune of N7.1 billion. He sentenced the sitting Senator to 12 years in prison.
Justice Idris was elevated to the Court of Appeal in 2018, but returned to the Federal High Court in Lagos to conclude Kalu’s trial.
Justice Bulkachawa, who said she had issued fiats 50 times to about eight justices of her court, including Justice Idris, to enable them to conclude such part-heard cases, noted that Kalu’s case was only one of the many of such cases, which were probably not high-profile, that had been concluded through the activation of the provision of ACJA.
“Applications were made by the EFCC, the Ministry of Justices and other prosecutorial agencies that our Justices who were appointed from the High Courts and elevated to the Court of Appeal be given fiats to go back to the various High Courts and complete the cases they have started.
“I have given fiats at least 50 times to about eight Justices of the Court of Appeal to go back and complete their assignments.
“The most recent is that of Justice Idris when he completed his matter of Orji Kali. But before then, he had completed about 15 matters.
“Similarly, Justice Talba, Justice Umar and Justice Ojo from the FCT High Court; and from the Federal High Court were Justices Idris, Justice Aliyu, I think about five of them from there, who have completed matters.
“I think this is a big plus for the Administration of Criminal Justice Act because matters get to be completed within the shortest time possible and decisively. I have not seen any of the matters that have come on appeal yet. I have not heard. Maybe that is the end of the matter as it is.”
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