Alleged N7.1billion misappropriation: EFCC resumes prosecution of Orji Kalu, requests Abuja Court to transfer suit to Lagos

February 2, 2021
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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Tuesday resumed the prosecution of Senator Uzor Orji Kalu, Senate Chief Whip, and former governor of Abia State, on allegation of N7.1 billion misappropriation at a Federal High Court, Abuja.  at the resumption of proceedings, EFCC requested for transfer of the case file from the Abuja Federal High Court to the Federal High Court in Lagos State.

Counsel to the EFCC, Chile Okoroma, at the resumption of suit on Tuesday, notified the court of a pending letter before the Chief Judge, requesting the transfer of the suit to Lagos.

The EFCC Counsel disclosed that the Chief Judge is yet to respond to the letter which was written in line with the judgment of the Supreme Court ordering the prosecution to try Senator Kalu afresh.

Okoroma argued that none of the offences allegedly committed by Kalu took place in Abuja and that the Supreme Court has held that the case cannot be heard in the FCT.

He told the court to adjourn the case pending a reply from the Chief Judge.

The Counsel to Orji Kalu, however, counter-argued that since the offences were not committed in Abuja, the right place for the trial of Kalu is Umuahia, Abia State, where the offences were perceived to be committed.

The presiding Judge, Justice Inyang Ekwo, in his ruling said: “Even without your application, the matter cannot go on.

“But I cannot adjourn the matter sine die. There must be a specific date for the report.”

The presiding judge, therefore, adjourned the case to June 7.

Senator Kalu had earlier been found guilty and given 12 years jail term by the Federal High Court in Lagos.

The presiding judge had convicted him, including Slok Nigeria Limited, and a former Director of Finance in Abia State, Jones Udeogu, for allegedly laundering about N7.1billion from the state treasury.

Kalu was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment in December 2019 after he was convicted of diverting N7.1 billion. He contested the imprisonment unto the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court, in a judgement on May 8th, 2020, upturned the proceedings of the suit in which Kalu was convicted. The court pointed out that the trial judge, Justice Mohammed Idris, was already elevated to the Court of Appeal at the time he sat and delivered the judgement against the defendants.

The Supreme Court maintained that Justice Idris was no longer a judge of the Federal High Court as of December 5, 2019, Kalu and the co-defendants were found guilty of the money laundering charge against them. The court, therefore, ordered a retrial of the defendants.

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