The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Tuesday opposed a bail application filed by the convicted former Abia State Governor, Orji Uzor Kalu.
Kalu, who is a serving senator, was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment for N7.65billion fraud by Justice Muhammed Idris of the Federal High Court, Lagos on December 5.
He filed the bail application on Tuesday, saying he was battling “serious health issues that the medical facilities in the prison cannot handle.”
The ex-governor urged the court to grant him bail from the Ikoyi Custodial Centre pending the determination of an appeal against his conviction.
However, EFCC counsel, Mr. RotimI Jacobs (SAN), opposed the bail application.
He said: “Although bail is generally a right of an accused as guaranteed by the Constitution, it is not a right available to a convict because the presumption of innocence had crystallised into guilt and conviction.”
He said that such a bail could be granted in a situation where the term of imprisonment would have elapsed before determination of the appeal.
Jacobs argued that that was not the situation with Kalu’s case.
On the ex-governor’s health condition, Jacobs said that there was no recent medical report to show his state of health, arguing that the medical report tendered in his case was done more than a year ago.
The EFCC counsel added that the request by Kalu to be released on bail so as to seek a traditional medical attention was not tenable, as visitors were allowed into the custodial centre.
Jacobs added: “He says he needs his herbalist to treat him. But he has not said that his herbalist came to the prison and was not allowed to see him.
“In one breath, the applicant is saying that he wants to be released on health grounds while in another breath, he is saying that as a senator, he needs to be released on bail so as to carry out his official functions.”
Join the conversation
SPECIAL REPORT: Displaced residents of Zamfara battle hunger, as underfunding derails Nigeria’s nutrition goals
On paper, Muhammad Zayyanu is seven years old. The quiet boy who looks shorter for his age could not recollect...
INVESTIGATION: N7.3bn paid for unnamed projects; how Nigerian govt spent N2.2trn in six months
Analysing nearly 3,000 payments made by various Federal Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) over the previous six months (January...
INVESTIGATION… Delay rocks Nigerian govt’s promise of N30,000 covid-19 relief for artisans, others
Before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in February, 2020, Chukwudi Okoroigwe’s daily earnings as a bus driver was hardly enough to cater to the...
INVESTIGATION… Ten years after, communities count losses as AfDB, Cross River govt abandon road project
Ten years after the Cross River State government and African Development Bank (AFDB) jointly awarded the Yahe-Wanokom-Wanikade-Benue border road for...
INVESTIGATION….N.3bn down the drain: Why water projects for Enugu communities don’t work
In this concluding part, ARINZE CHIJIOKE talks about some of the projects that are serving the people and how various WASH programmes have failed to tackle...