Freedom finally came the way of a former Governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu, as a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has ordered his release from jail.
It would be recalled that Kalu was jailed by another Federal High Court in Lagos for 12 years on December 5, 2019.
He was convicted of N7.1bn fraud alongside his firm, Slok Nigeria Limited and a former Director of Finance at the Abia State Government House, Jones Udeogu.
His conviction was however overturned by the Supreme Court, which faulted a section of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) relied upon by the President of the Court of Appeal to grant leave to the trial judge, who had been elevated to the Court of Appeal, to return to the lower court to conclude the case.
The Supreme Court ordered the case afresh but Kalu had remained in the custody of the Nigeria Correctional Service despite the upturn of his conviction.
The Tuesday order by Justice Mohammed Liman followed an application brought before the court by Kalu’s counsel, Chief Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), who said it was based on the pronouncement of the Supreme Court in Udeogu’s appeal.
“Our application is brought pursuant to Section 159 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.
“This is a fallout of the Supreme Court decision delivered on the 8th of May,” Fagbemi said.
Responding, prosecuting counsel for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Mr Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), said the prosecution would not, in principle, oppose Fagbemi’s application for Kalu’s release from prison.
“But we are also urging the court that the order made by the Supreme Court for trial de novo should be complied with by all parties; so that Your Lordship will give us a date when arraignment will be done.
“We want the trial to go on; losing more time will be dangerous for us,” Jacobs stated.
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