Court fixes April 20 to hear ex-Gov Kalu’s suit to stop his retrial by EFCC | Ripples Nigeria
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Court fixes April 20 to hear ex-Gov Kalu’s suit to stop his retrial by EFCC

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Fayose warns ex-Gov Kalu to stay away from Ekiti

The Federal High Court in Abuja, has adjourned to April 20, 2021, a suit filed by former Abia State Governor and Senate Chief Whip, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, seeking to stop his retrial by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

He is being prosecuted by the anti-graft agency for alleged money laundering charges.

Justice Inyang Ekwo ordered the adjournment because the EFCC, which is listed as the first defendant in the suit, was not properly served with the originating summons.

During the court proceedings, Rotimi Jacobs who announced an appearance for the EFCC on protest drew the attention of the court to the fact that the originating summons was served on his chambers instead of the EFCC.

He told Justice Ekwo that he was yet to be briefed by the anti-graft agency as its counsel and it would amount to professional misconduct to accept processes on the matter.

In his remarks, Professor Awa Kalu who appeared for Senator Kalu said he has no problem serving the EFCC with the originating summons.

READ ALSO: Court temporarily halts Orji Kalu’s re-trial

Justice Ekwo accordingly adjourned the case to April 20 for hearing and directed the applicant to serve the EFCC within seven days.

The court had on February 8, 2021, granted leave to Senator Kalu to challenge his retrial by the EFCC on the same charges upon which he was sentenced and convicted.

Justice Inyang Ekwo thereafter, ordered that the planned re-arraignment of Senator Kalu in the alleged ₦7.1billion money-laundering charges be put on hold until the resolution of the legal questions raised against his retrial.

In a motion exparte argued by his counsel, Senator Kalu asked for an order of Court prohibiting the EFCC from retrying him on the same alleged money laundering charges against him.

He contended that having been tried, convicted, and sentenced on the same charges by a Federal High court presided over by Justice M.B. Idris, it will amount to double jeopardy if he is subjected to a fresh trial on the same charges.

Justice Ekwo in his ruling held that the applicant who is fully clothed with the locus standi has placed sufficient materials in his supporting affidavits to warrant the court to exercise its discretion in his favor.

“Leave is at the discretion of the court under order 34(2) of the Federal High Court. In granting leave, there must be sufficient material fact placed before the court by the applicant to enable it to exercise its discretion judicially and judiciously.

“The averments in the affidavit in support of the motion are about the applicant who has demonstrated sufficient interest to cloth him with a locus standi to bring the action.

“By section 34 (9) of the constitution, no person who shows that he has been tried by any court of competent jurisdiction or tribunal for a criminal offence and either convicted or acquitted shall again be tried for that offence having the same ingredients as that offence save upon the order of a competent court.”

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