Convicted former Gov. Orji Kalu has been let out of prison following the Supreme Court judgement that nullified the process that led to his sentencing over a N7.1bn corruption charge by the EFCC.
The apex court described as unconstitutional the section 396(7) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, which President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa (retd), relied on to authorise a justice promoted to appeal court to return to a lower court to conclude the case he started in 2007.
The returning Justice Mohammed Idris , in December, then sentenced the ex-governor and his finance director Jone Udeogu to 12 years imprisonment for the fraud he allegedly perpetrated during his tenure as Abia governor.
But in a unanimous judgment of the Supreme Court led by Justice Olabode Rhodes-Vivour, on Friday, the apex court nullified the entire trial.
According to Rhodes-Vivour, the constitution does not permit a judge elevated to a higher court to return to a lower court to conclude a part-heard case.
The panel unanimously directed the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court to assign the case to another judge of the court for the trial to commence afresh.
The senatorhas reacted to the court ruling after his release.
“By today’s judgement, the apex court of our dear country has affirmed my right to fair hearing,” said Kalu in a statement he signed after his release on Friday.
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