The trial of Orji Uzor Kalu, former Governor of Abia state has been adjourned to March 10, 2022, by a Federal High court in Abuja.
It was argued by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in its motion on notice that the Abuja division did not have jurisdiction over the matter, so they requested that the case be transferred to its Lagos division.
Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) told the court that his motion seeking transfer of the case has been served on the other applicants, Kalu is being prosecuted alongside his firm, Slok Nigeria Limited, and former Director of Finance in Abia State, Jones Udeogu for fraud to the tune of about N7.1billion.
Kalu’s lawyer, Prince Uche (SAN), stated to the court that he had a pending application before the court, requesting the defendants to respond to EFCC’s application to transfer the case within 30 days.
He then adjourned the matter till March 10.
“Parties are directed to file their reply before the date of hearing,” Justice Iyang said.
The former governor served as Abia State Governor from May 29, 1999, to May 29, 2007, and was first arraigned over an amended 39-count charge for conspiring and diverting the sum of N7.65bn from the state during his tenure as Governor.
In 2019, he was convicted and sentenced to 12 years in prison and his company be wound up and all assets were forfeited to the Federal Government.
However, on May 8, 2020, the Supreme Court nullified the proceedings that led to his conviction on technical grounds that the judge who convicted him was no longer a judge of the federal high court at the time the judgement was delivered.
Afterwhich, the case was ordered by the Supreme Court to be reassigned to the Federal high court and Kalu was released from prison based on the apex court’s ruling.
In the wake of his release, he requested that the EFCC stop his retrial, which was granted by Justice Inyang on the ground that the Supreme Court had not ordered a retrial.