A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, Wednesday, ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to discontinue from prosecuting Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, despite a Supreme Court’s judgment ordering a retrial of the N7.1 billion case in which he had been previously convicted and jailed 12 years.
Senator Kalu was already serving the 12-year jail term for the offences when the Supreme Court, on 8 May 2020, nullified the proceedings leading to his and his co-defendants’ conviction.
The EFCC has signified its intention to appeal against Wednesday’s ruling of the Federal High Court.
In a statement, the EFCC objected to the court’s ruling, contending that the judge, Inyang Ekwo, erred in his application of the law by failing to abide by the Supreme Court’s earlier order of a retrial in the case.
“EFCC believes the judge erred in this ruling as Section 36(9) of the 1999 constitution is applicable only where the previous judgment was by a court of competent jurisdiction.
“In this case, the apex court had in the said judgment described the process that led to the conviction of Kalu as a nullity because the judge came from the Court of Appeal to decide the matter,” EFCC’s statement signed by its spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, read in part.
“The commission further avers that the court erred in its ruling that the Supreme Court did not order the retrial of Kalu; that it amounts to cherry-picking for Kalu to profit from the decision of the apex court nullifying the conviction of his co-defendant, Ude Udeagu but is not prepared to face the burden of retrial,” the statement added.